Every Creature, in the Image of God

(Photo credit: here)

I don’t normally post on Saturday’s, but Richard Rohr’s meditation from Friday, June 9, 2017, is too good to pass up.  

Click here for is his daily meditation, in full, with my favorite quotes from the meditation below:

In his original Rule, Francis instructed friars who traveled to Muslim lands not to engage in argument or disputes, and to accept local authority, even if it meant making themselves vulnerable. [2] He wanted them to carry the Gospel, not take up crusaders’ weapons. We need such a message today.

Imagine what the world would be like if we treated others with inherent and equal dignity and respect, seeing the divine DNA in ourselves and everyone else too—regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, appearance, or social class. Nothing less offers the world any lasting future.

Every creature carries the DNA, or Imago Dei, of the Creator, and it shall not be taken from them.

Which Story Do You Believe?

S (Scripture): Proverbs 15

15 All the days of the poor are hard,
but a cheerful heart has a continual feast.
16 Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
than great treasure and trouble with it.
17 Better is a dinner of vegetables where love is
than a fatted ox and hatred with it.
18 Those who are hot-tempered stir up strife,
but those who are slow to anger calm contention.

O (Observation): The wisdom coming forth here points out that worldly wealth is not the seat of contentment.   In fact, wealth (money, food, clothing, fancy stuff, etc.) is shown to bring very little satisfaction in and of itself, if it does not accompany love or a fear of the Lord.   

And what comes of the ability to be slow to anger?  Contentment.   Not a lazy, “let’s forget about this” kind of contentment.  Wisdom here speaks of contentment that means the important thing is not how MUCH I have or how I will sustain myself, but rather, is there love and a fear of the Lord with what I do have.   

A (Application): What story do we believe?  Our story about ourselves?  Or God’s story about us?

Do we have enough stuff in our lives?  In our world?  The story the world wants us to believe is that the one with the most toys wins.  We don’t say that, specifically, but we want to borrow money to have the latest style car, or phone, or furniture.   That’s the story we want to believe.  

Yet God seems to be sharing another story with us, a story about us.   God says, “I give you everything you need, not necessarily everything you want.  Love and contentment drive your story.   Buy that car or house or whatever, but let my love for you define your life, not what others think about you based on what you have or don’t have.”

What story do you believe?  The one the world tells about us?   Or the one that God tells us: “You are enough, already”?

P (Prayer):  Lord, feed us, so that we might feed others.   Amen.  

“How Do I Look?”


S (Scripture): 1 Corinthians 15:35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?” 36 Fool! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. 37 And as for what you sow, you do not sow the body that is to be, but a bare seed, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 Not all flesh is alike, but there is one flesh for human beings, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are both heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one thing, and that of the earthly is another.

O (Observation):  Paul spends some time explaining the afterlife.  What will our bodies be like after we die?   What will we be like in the resurrection?

Paul uses the metaphor of the seed.   The seed must die in order for it to become a plant.   The form will change from one phase to another.  So, too, will our bodies be changed from an earthly form to a spiritual form.  

A (Application):  We place a lot of emphasis on image in this world.   Our weight, our skin, our height, our clothes, our cars, our homes, etc.   We have a bit of an illness as an American society regarding our consumption of products and services regarding our image (of body and property).   

We should take care of our bodies and treat them as temples (as we believe the Spirit dwells in us).   Yet we should not be obsessed based on what other people think.   What others think should not drive our consumption of these goods and services.   

In the resurrection, we will be given a new framework in which we will live and move and have our being.  The earthly form will be no more.  The form dies.   But we will be brought into a heavenly form, perhaps that of Jesus’ form when he appears to the disciples after his resurrection.   (Yes, this is conjecture…but this is the only scriptural witness we have of a post-resurrection body.)

We don’t fully know what that heavenly body will be like…but we will let go of the earthly body.  We will move on.   

And maybe we will look back and say:

“How silly we were…to worry so much…about so little a thing as our image.  We were always made in God’s image.   What more did we need?”

P (Prayer):  Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we give you thanks for making us in your image.  Amen. 

How Can I Help?  


S (Scripture): Job 39

19 “Do you give the horse its might?
Do you clothe its neck with mane?
20 Do you make it leap like the locust?
Its majestic snorting is terrible.
21 It paws[d] violently, exults mightily;
it goes out to meet the weapons.
22 It laughs at fear, and is not dismayed;
it does not turn back from the sword.
23 Upon it rattle the quiver,
the flashing spear, and the javelin.
24 With fierceness and rage it swallows the ground;
it cannot stand still at the sound of the trumpet.
25 When the trumpet sounds, it says ‘Aha!’
From a distance it smells the battle,
the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

O (Observation):  The Lord is finally giving voice to this situation of Job’s. The Lord starts in chapter 38 and continues through this chapter, chapter 39.  The Lord is asking Job if he knows how all of creation began, and how creation goes on the way it does. His questions are in a cynical tone, knowing that Job cannot answer the questions that the Lord is asking.

The image of the horse going into battle is quite a vivid image.   But Job cannot possibly know where the horse gets its might or mane, or how it can laugh at fear.  Job does not know how anything in nature works, nor does anyone, except the Lord.  

And so, the Lord calls on Job to show reverence to the Lord, for Job’s supposed wisdom is nothing compared to the Lord.   

A (Application):  Science has allowed us to sort of reverse engineer most of creation.  We can see how two things came together to make a new thing, but we cannot re-create it.  We can look back and pick things apart, but we lack The Lord’s wisdom to predict the future.  

Even in science, mystery remains.  

In faith, we have doctrines and theologies, but none completely captures who God is.   Our wisdom only extends so far with the written or spoke Word.   

So, why is it that we think we are wise enough to understand why bad things happen?    Things like breast cancer, Alzheimer’s, and type 1 diabetes, to name a few.   No one deserves these things.   They just receive them.    

God doesn’t wish for us to suffer, nor are we meant to control creation.  Yet we can be present for one another without accusing each other of being all righteous or all sinful.   We can be present with one another in the midst of responses to natural disasters.  

We can see life as that which brings ups and downs beyond our wisdom.    We can be present.   Without words.  Without motives, other than simply to be with someone in their time of need.  

Stand with.  Sit with.  Listen to.  These are our responses to folks in need.  

P (Prayer):  Lord, show us signs of your love in the midst of that which baffles us.  Amen.  

Doubt and Worry is Okay


S (Scripture): Psalm 56
1 Be gracious to me, O God, for people trample on me; all day long foes oppress me;
2 my enemies trample on me all day long,
for many fight against me.
O Most High, 3 when I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I am not afraid;
what can flesh do to me?

O (Observation): Trusting in the Lord is a hallmark of our faith.  When the Israelites were downtrodden and disoriented, they trusted in God for comfort and guidance.   

A psalm like this is borne out of a people who have known strife.   And yet, in the midst of their troubles, they rely on their faith in the Lord to carry them through the day. 

A (Application):  We have a hard time dealing with the struggles of the world around us.  Sometimes it’s a thing that happened to us directly: sickness, worry, fear.  Sometimes the thing happens to a loved one: death, disease, moving away.

In all cases, we can wonder and doubt along with the author of today’s psalm.  And we do not have to fear that our worries or doubts will cause God to push us away.  In fact, God blesses the broken and contrite heart.  

So fears, worries, doubts…these do not mean our faith is weak.  Indeed, our weaknesses are exactly where God plans to meet us.  

P (Prayer):  Lord, meet us in out weaknesses today.  Amen. 

Who is Setting the Pace for You?

Chevrolet and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced that a s

S (Scripture):  Luke 24:28  As they came near the village to which they were going, Jesus walked ahead as if he were going on. 29 But they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, because it is almost evening and the day is now nearly over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him; and he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

O (Observation):  This text comes not from the Daily Moravian texts…but this is the Gospel text assigned for Sunday, April 30, 2017.   

These two followers of Jesus received news of Jesus’ death.  They are despondent and downtrodden.   On their long walk back home, the resurrected Jesus comes alongside these two men and asks what is troubling them.  They share that Jesus has suffered and died, not recognizing this stranger is Jesus himself!   Jesus reminds them of the salvation stories, starting with Moses and the prophets…on to the current day.  But these followers still don’t quite know what to make of this stranger…(who just happens to be the resurrected Jesus!).

Not until Jesus breaks bread with them is he revealed to them, fully.  Their “eyes were opened and they recognized him.”  Then he left…vanished.   And the disciples realize that Jesus was there in their midst, the whole time.

A (Application):  We don’t always get it.  We don’t always get the fact that Jesus is journeying with us.   The world around us is constantly challenging us.  Kids’ sports practices.  The latest gadget.   The dwindling bank account.   The competition to succeed.   The race to the top.   The need to meet the quotas.   The rat race….over and over and over again.

Breathe.   Just breathe.   Let today be the beginning of something new…a break.   Just for a few minutes…just for a day…maybe for a  few days.   Re-charge.

While you are resting…maybe you will have a chance to recognize God’s presence in your midst.   While we are running, we have a hard time catching our breath or noticing what God is up to in our lives.

You need some downtime to sit, break bread with others…and notice that God is here.  Now.  In your presence.   Do this “rest” thing with someone you love and trust.   See what happens.

Then…get back at it.   Go on.  But now, know that God is with you.  That will change your whole outlook on the race you are running.   You will no longer be running the race for yourself…you will realize that you are not running alone.  You will see that God is with you on your journey…let God set your pace.

P (Prayer):  God, slow us down…pace us…let us know your presence is real.  Amen.

Through Faith Alone

S (Scripture): Romans 4:13 For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would inherit the world was not fulfilled through the law, but through the righteousness that comes by faith. 14 For if they become heirs by the law, faith is empty and the promise is nullified…20 He did not waver in unbelief about the promise of God but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that what God promised he was also able to do. 22 So indeed it was credited to Abraham as righteousness.

23 But the statement it was credited to him was not written only for Abraham’s sake, 24 but also for our sake, to whom it will be credited, those who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was given over because of our transgressions and was raised for the sake of our justification.

O (Observation):  Paul is starting to dig a bit deeper into the identity of the Jewish people.  Over time, they have become convinced that the works of the Law made them who they were: God’s people.  

Paul is helping them to see that Abraham’s faith in God was not a work of the law, but rather, came about as a gift of faith that originated in God, and thus allowed Abraham to believe at all. Salvation came to Abraham NOT because he performed a “good work” by believing.   Rather, seeing the blessing available to him and Sarah, he responded to the blessing by actually believing in the blessings to come.  

Salvation came to Abraham OUTSIDE OF his own doing.   He recognized that, and ONLY THROUGH FAITH APART FROM THE LAW did Abraham believe.   

Faith was the key to Abraham’s salvation and blessing.  The same goes for those who believe in  the one who raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.  Paul tells the Jewish Christians in Rome:  just as Jews credited faith in God with Abraham as a model of faith, so too is the opportunity available for ALL to believe that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, apart from any understanding in the Law or Jewish customs.  

In other words, Gentile Christians have just as much opportunity to be a part of the Church as Jewish Christians.  

A (Application):  I have learned from Mike Breen’s book on discipleship, Building a Discipling Culture, that our identity as Christians stems not from our work towards God, but in God claiming us and bestowing faith upon us.  (This is illustrated in the triangle picture above.). Once that identity in God is established, then we are able to do the work that God calls us to do.   The summation of this, found in Breen’s book is this:  God >> Identity >> Obedience; God is the originator of our identity, which leads to our confidence to be obedient to do God’s work (albeit imperfectly).  

Here is how lots of people express faith in a way that says we earn God’s grace.  Notice how it is the opposite of Breen’s (and Scripture’s) suggestion:

Obedience leads to >> Identity as God’s children >> which then grants us access to God.  

This breaks down when you think about all of the times that we slip up, like when we are angry at someone and speak ill of someone or when we blatantly sin in any way (we’ve all done this, unfortunately).   In this sense, we are always exhausting ourselves to stay in God’s good graces.  Yet this is not the way that the Scriptures describe our relationship with God.  

Rather, God claims us, gathers us, enlightens us, and makes us holy, in order that we might then fulfill God’s will by doing God’s deeds on earth.  The way of God looks like this:

God claims us >> that we might be indentified as God’s children >> that we might be obedient to do God’s deeds.   

Abraham was chosen by God.  Abraham knew (through faith alone) that God would bless him and Sarah and that he and Sarah would be a blessing to others.   Then God brought about righteousness through Abraham’s lineage.  

May we know that God has chosen us and that God can choose to help anyone believe…even those who might not look and act like us…who might not speak our language…who might live a different part of the world.   

P (Prayer): Lord, help us to see that the path to you is by faith alone.  Amen.