Saturday, July 10, 2010

Loving God's Image

All that God creates is holy--set apart for him, to bring glory to him, to point to him. I often fail to see it, and to live up to my own holiness, but that does not change God's intent. How would my thoughts change if I were to view all that God created as holy--not just trees and sky and oceans but also mosquitoes and pigeons and skunks--and people, all people. For we, above all created things, are created in the image of God.

Before I let that go to my head, I must ask myself--does it show? When others look at me, do they see God's image? I expect it is much less visible than I would like it to be. I wonder if others would be better able to see God's image in me if I were able to see his image in each person I encounter, not just the ones I like, who treat me with kindness, but those who are rude, who don't believe what I believe, who break laws, who don't speak my language, who don't have the same moral values that I have. My personal opinions and biases must be overcome by the Christ in me if I am to see the Christ in others.

Where is it hardest for me to see the image of God in another? Is it in the poor, the rich, the illegal immigrant, the Muslim, the Christian, the liberal, the conservative, the persecuted, the persecutor? I am reading To Pray and To Love by Roberta Bondi. She examines the writings of the early monastics on prayer. She relates that the early monastics believed that being made in the image of God meant that we cannot see anyone or anything else as it truly is without seeing as God sees, which is through the lens of love.

She makes the point that we tend to separate reason from emotion, as though reason implies objectivity and truth, while emotion implies subjectivity and bias that are not reflective of truth. Emotion takes into account the individual circumstances of a situation, while reason does not allow for nonconforming reality.

Yet, if God is love, and God is Truth, then love is also Truth, and thus, we cannot know the truth without seeing the person and the situation through eyes of love. Reasoning would have stoned the woman caught in adultery, but love gave her another chance. Reason would have healed only the leper who was grateful, but love healed the ungrateful nine as well. Reason would have condemned those who killed, but love advocated for them to be forgiven.

Is there room for love, for seeing each other in God's image, in the political structures of our land? In the midst of campaign season, can we see God's image in every candidate? Heck, is there room for love, for seeing each other in God's image, in our churches? Or are we so consumed with reason that we have forgotten how to love?

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