December 6, 2020

Salt & Light Online

A current connection to each week's session


God and Us
Psalm 8:1-9

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It is often difficult to find a representation that helps us understand in a clear and forceful way what the Bible refers to when it says that we were created in the image and likeness of God. People have the privilege of resembling God, carrying God’s genes, and doing glorious things in our homes, communities, schools, states, countries.

When do we resemble God?

Some images immediately come to mind. In my native country, Honduras, we learned a hymn at school that we sang full steam in May to celebrate Mother's Day. The refrain says: “The highest expression of love is contained in the name of Mother because there cannot be a clearer image of God on earth” (“En el nombre de Madre se encierra la más alta expresión del amor porque no puede haber en la tierra una imagen más clara de Dios”).1

This idea cannot be described in a better way; the image of a mother is the closest thing to the image of God that we know and the best example of a human being made in God’s image. We can recognize the unique and special characteristics of human nature that make God manifest through us, characteristics that are visible in the expressions of a mother toward her children. As children, we can be the kindest creatures on the planet or the most horrible beings, but neither one will change the essence of a mother’s love toward her children. She can give love without expecting anything in return and forgive the most serious fault without holding resentment toward her children. She is merciful, compassionate, and does not lose faith in them even if they fail over and over. She is capable of giving her life for her children.

I recently watched a coworker desperately waiting for a payday to help another coworker who was going through a difficult situation. Wow, what a wonderful gesture, what a heart. God was incarnated in this wonderful human being, allowing me to witness this precious moment of God’s glory: to see clearly the compassionate, merciful, and loving face of God.

Not long ago, I watched in amazement when a man experiencing homelessness received a piece of pizza and rushed to share it with another person in a similar homeless situation. This impressive scene brought tears to my eyes because his action was unexpected. I saw God in this man and was touched and blessed to witness this action.

With these three examples, we see the “imago Dei” (image of God) expressed in human beings. We resemble God when we tolerate, love, respect, defend life, give ourselves and are fair, conciliatory, kind, respectful, and so forth. We resemble God when we value each one for who they are. So, being the image of God means, in simple terms, that we were made to resemble God—mentally, because we were created with free will as rational beings, which is a reflection of the intelligence and freedom of God; socially, because every time we approach, respect, honor, love, and value our neighbor, we resemble God; and morally, because when we choose to do good above all else and practice mercy and justice, we reflect the holiness of God.

  • Where do you see expressions of God’s image in other people?
  • How might other people see God’s image in you?

—Andrew Bodden, AndrewBodden@mcc.org

1. “Himno a la Madre Honduras”; letra: Augusto C. Coello; música: Rafael Coello Ramos (“Honduras Hymn to Mothers”; lyrics: Augusto C. Coello; music: Rafael Coello Ramos).

Andrew Bodden, a Honduran native, serves as a program director for Mennonite Central Committee East Coast, providing leadership to the programs in New York, Philadelphia, Florida, Puerto Rico, and to the Young Adult, and Peace and Justice programs. He also connects with Anabaptist pastors and churches on the East Coast and in Puerto Rico. Andrew has worked in multicultural settings in Central and South America, Mexico, Dominican Republic, and the United States. He is an ordained minister in the Atlantic Coast Conference and serves as vice-chair of the Mennonite Mission Network board.

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