For the last couple of days, the image of God is what The Way of Abundance has had me thinking about. Remembering that we’re all image bearers, no gradations. No one more or less in God’s image than another.
As I walked through my neighborhood, I let the ideas fill me. It was a quiet enough morning. Light but not really sunny.
And I thought of the paintings of Mary and Jesus in the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris—how people around the world represent Jesus and Mary as people like them, with their own skin color, their own appearance. Adopting God into their world.
People sometimes complain about the white God, the European God, when it’s right there in front of us the whole time: God is for all of us.
Often Black artists paint a Black Jesus. White artists paint a white one. Asian artists also reach for a God who looks like them. All over the world, people portray Jesus in keeping with their culture.
They paint an image of God that is like theirs for the sake of love. To make him reachable. To say, “That is my God.”
Even so, God has painted us each with his image. No one more than any other. Good and bad alike, every shade of humanity, we bear his image.
Every day, we encounter people who bear the image of God. All of them.
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare.
“All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” ~C.S. Lewis
In The Way of Abundance, their response to seeing the image of God stamped on the everyday people they encountered was to enter in. To take on their cares and needs. To see that image in Muslim refugees reprieved from a life of a war far away, just as they did on their next-door neighbors struggling with their own challenges.
And that is a very Christlike way to see them. Because when I look at what God did while we still sinned … while we were still defacing the God-image on ourselves and other people by how we acted and how we treated others …
Jesus entered into our lives to walk through our hurts with us. Break bread with us. Break the power of sin and death, so we can live.
So live well. Give thanks. Walk with the knowledge that we each wear the image of One who loved us enough to seek us out.
Live like that, entering in, asking for nothing in return. Because abundance is found in giving.