Made in God's Image (The Story: Chapter 1)

"So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them;  male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

Last Sunday we began our journey through The Story--31 weeks of connecting our individual and unique stories with God's epic and grand story. We covered the first nine chapters of Genesis, which is like fast forwarding through a movie and just getting a glimpse of all the action.

As I was reflecting on the beginning chapters, where God creates everything we see and don't see, where God fashions human beings out of the ground ("Adam" means dirt) and establishes his relationship with every living thing ("Eve" means living one), a phrase caught my attention: "Let us make human beings in our image" (1:26).

In God's image means to be in relationship. "Let us" reflects mysteriously the community of the trinity. It means to be in relationship with God and with each other as God is in relationship as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Male and female becoming one flesh (2:24) is an indication of intimacy: naked and not ashamed, living in the garden and tending the garden together. It's a call to not be alone, but to be in community with others. What difference would it make if I sought appropriate intimacy in all relationships?

With "in God's image" there is affirmation that of all created things, as the last project of the sixth day, we are the crown of creation, fearfully and wonderfully made (Ps 139), his masterpiece (Eph 2:10), blessed (v.28) and we are made "very good" (v.31). I don't know the last time I thought of myself or anyone else in those terms. What difference would it make if I saw us all through that lens?

There is also responsibility. We are called to rule--nurturing, cultivating, stewarding all other things God has created, meaningfully creating life out of the gifts God has given and creating new life together. What difference would it make if I understood our calling through that lens?

To understand and own the affirmation and responsibility of "in God's image" is to have God's heart that celebrates what is very good, and is deeply troubled with the brokenness of humanity. Whether or not we acknowledge it, we are created in God's image. Each of us has a piece of God's heart for the world, passions to make a difference, gifts to offer each other, stories dotted with God's fingerprints of grace and redemption. 

Together, in community, we help each other to own our image. And together, in community, we more fully express God's heart and accomplish God's purposes in the world.

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