There has been a huge and positive response to yesterday’s stories from my long Greyhound Bus ride. If you haven’t read the post, please take a few moments to catch up by clicking on “the view from the bus.”
Traveling hooked me up with several interesting and challenging conversations, but I also had some time to get in a little reading, including John Philip Newell’s thoughtful The Rebirthing of God. In the introduction, Newell references 14th Century Christian writer Julian of Norwich, and her idea that, “We are not just made by God, we are made of God” (italics added).
For me, that profound thought brought new light to the biblical truth that we are made in the image of God, and it also radically impacted the way I both viewed and interacted with the other people on the bus.
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27
- Made for relationship with God;
- made in the likeness of God;
- made of God.
CARRYING THE IMAGE: So I started to think about Jesus, and how the Great Teacher pointed out that it would be “better” – his word (John 16:7) – for him to “go away.” Better, why? Because Jesus knows the truth about us, the fact that we are all capable of carrying the divine image into all the world. Our task is to actually be the presence of Christ for this world. Not just to represent Jesus, but to be Jesus. We are called to be – in a very real sense – “The Body of Christ.”
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” – 1 Corinthians 12:27
Jesus breathed on the disciples – breathed into the disciples – and he said, “Receive the Spirit.” Do we not carry the DNA of God in our spiritual selves? Are we not – spiritually – immortal? Is not our task to introduce people to the transcendent beauty of relationship with God by actually being “salt and light” rather than simply talking about it?
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” – John 20:21-22
We have this opportunity to incorporate the very substance of God into every element of our lives, and to empower our living in ways unimaginable outside of the fact that we are made not just by God, but of God.
The real challenge here is that – as John the Baptist said so well, “The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease.” – John 3:29-30
We are powered up, so to speak, only when we give ourselves away; “it is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me…” – Galatians 2:19-21
Food for thought; and – hopefully – transformation – DEREK