|Posted by bethlehemlutheran on January 28, 2011 at 2:35 PM|
The churches that divide their year up into “seasons” are currently celebrating the time after Epiphany. It starts with the story of how Jesus is made known as “the king of the Jews” to a group of non-Jewish magi, or sages, from the East, possibly Persia, and ends with the story of the transfiguration, when Jesus is made known to three of the disciples as the Messiah, or Anointed One. The theme of the entire season, which extends from January 6 to Ash Wednesday (March 9, this year) is about making Jesus known to the world in various ways.
One of the major ways Jesus is made known is through the lives and ministry of his disciples. Today, the church is where disciples are born and nurtured. This may be why the Gospel readings for the rest of the season after Epiphany are taken from Matthew’s version of the Sermon on the Mount, the Bible’s handbook for disciples.
The short article below, which Mary Fredericks wrote a number of years ago for Trinity Lutheran Church in Clawson, talks about one aspect of making God (and therefore Jesus) known to the world.
Do you ever wonder what the Bible means in Genesis 1:27 when it states we are made in the image of God? If you were to study religious paintings in churches and museums, you would conclude that it means that God and people look very much alike (think Sistine Chapel). Other possibilities have been suggested, many of them having to do with different types of creativity. Recently I came across a suggestion which I like very much. It stated that we are like God in that we, like the Creator, are capable of bringing good into the world.
Wow! Does this strike you as a thunderbolt idea? It does me. Its implications are enormous. For instance, it tells me that my likeness to God lies in how I relate to the world and is not reflected in skin color or gender or nationality or even intelligence. And it gives me an important reason for being alive: if I choose, I can increase the amount of good here. “Well,” you might say, “I know that God created the entire universe and called it good. I can’t do that.” No, not on that scale, but you can mirror the impulse that lay behind God’s act. Every time you say a kind work, do something helpful, create beauty, or think a constructive thought, you are bringing good into the world and acting in the image of God. An equally staggering conclusion is that every time you choose not to do good, or to actively think or do evil, you are chipping away at that part of yourself that is like God. Now there’s a thought to ponder!