Made in God’s Image

God created humanity in God’s own image,

in the divine image God created them,

male and female God created them.

-Genesis 1:27

Watched any good TV shows lately? I’ve recently been watching Parks and Recreation, a comedy about a fictional parks department of a small city. Although they have a shared purpose of keeping the city’s parks running and organizing recreation programs, the members of the department have very little else in common. The comedy comes in primarily because the characters are so very different. There’s a libertarian department head, a gung-ho overachieving deputy, a slacking receptionist, and a whole team of mostly well-meaning but ineffective workers.

It’s a common theme in TV shows: totally different characters, people you’d never expect to get along well, somehow band together simply because they have a shared purpose. Just think of Star Trek, M*A*S*H*, or even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: very different sorts of people (or turtles) working together toward a common goal. No matter how different the characters might be, their common purpose brings them together.

At our best, this is true at church, too. We are old and young, liberal and conservative, well-off and barely scraping by, male and female and non-binary, outgoing and shy, polished and rough-around-the-edges, single and married and widowed and divorced, healthy and sick, lifelong members and newcomers, and any other difference you could imagine, and each and every one of us made in the image of God. Each and every one created by God just as we are.

I wonder, when you look in the mirror, do you see God’s creation, made in God’s image? When you express your creativity or provide for someone in need, do you realize that you are acting as God would, in the very image of God? What about when you look around at church? Do you remember that each one of those people is made in God’s image? What about at the grocery store, the restaurant, and the doctor’s office? Do you often think of those people as made in the image of God?

If you do, you begin to realize the diversity God must adore to make us all so unique. We are different. You and I and every other person: we are not the same. And God did that on purpose! It’s not our characteristics that join us together; it’s our purpose. When we come together at church, it’s not because we’re identical. It’s because we share the purpose of worshipping God. That’s all. That’s enough. We don’t have to agree about everything, and what a relief! We don’t have to look or dress the same. We are all made in God’s image. No matter how different we are, our common purpose and identity as God’s people brings us together.

God, thank you for the diversity of your creation. Help me see your image in myself and the people around me. Make us one people, brought together in your love. Amen.

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