Monday, October 01, 2007

The Image of God...Incarnational, Relational

I was created in the image of God.
You were created in the image of God.
That is the mystery of divine incarnation. It no more makes us gods, than having our parent’s genes makes us our parents. Still, we bear the Creator’s mark. Somehow, the finite, mortal beings that we are, carry something of the infinite and the immortal within. That should motivate us, not just to think more of ourselves, but to action.

The Good Shepherd tells us that what we do for others, even for those we might perceive to be the dregs of humanity, we in fact do for him. When we open ourselves up to one another, and stoop down to help those in need, I believe we tap into that divine spark that makes us fully human. That’s where the Image becomes relational.

Relationships serve as the building blocks with which we form communities. And in communities we again bear the mysterious mark of the Creator. The philosopher/saint/prophet Paul compares the community of Christ to a human body with many working parts. The diverse parts of the body all work together for a common good. The community of Christ, just as diverse as the human anatomy, should also work together for a common good. To build on that metaphor, I like to think of the relationships I form as some small tendon or muscle that allows one part of the body to function properly.

Unfortunately, I’m not always relationally driven or focused. Too often, I’m self-absorbed, self-serving and apathetic to the many incarnations of God all around me.
Lord, have mercy.

I know better.

I understand that I need to remain connected to my community. I grasp that building relationship requires humility, empathy, transparency and most of all action. It requires that I let down my guard and allow others to get close, real close. In return, I reap the multiple benefits that relationships bring, such as trust, understanding, empathy and a sense of connectedness or belonging. But I have to be reminded, like I was Sunday at the Dwelling Place.

As I sat amongst friends and people I hardly know, I thought about how little of myself—the divine incarnation that I am—I have allowed to be seen or known by them. I vowed to be different, to get connected, to be known.

I’ve come to realize that relational Christianity opens my mind to understanding and “knowing” God. It helps me grasp a little more fully that mystery of the incarnation. Therefore, my quest has become less about some other world spirituality and more about my earthly journey and getting to know those on the path with me. As I see the divine in them, I see a much clearer picture of what the image of God truly is.

I’m posting this on my blog and at the Dwelling Place to serve as a reminder for myself and as a declaration for my co-Dwellers.