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Posts Tagged ‘God’s image’

characterBasic definition of character: “the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing”. But there are others and among those definitions is “an account of qualities or peculiarities of a person–“. In this election year and climate, character has been a constant topic of conversation, from good to bad, true or false, kind to selfish, dependable to undependable and so forth. We are all, looking outward, asking, “do we see fruit in the lives of the candidates that reflects their true nature, or their character?” But perhaps, it’s time to ask these same questions of ourselves. 

I have always maintained, put a microscope on someone and you’ll always find something, some tarnish or blotch, some surprise or another. Can I tolerate the same? Not hardly. So, who am I kidding? This public evaluation will probably be somewhat cursory at best.

So what is the question? How do I stack up to the “image” or character of God (as in Genesis 1:26, made in God’s image)? The list I was given only had 24, alphabetically, we only go through the letter “F.” I found another website that lists 49 character traits. My guess is that the list could go on and on and on.

Let me pick three then, that I can somewhat safely say I have demonstrated: endurance, initiative, and thoroughness. Notice: I had to go all over the alphabet list. Here’s what happens when I try to identify a positive character trait, I name one and the first thing that comes to mind is the time I didn’t reflect that very well. And then another and another. So, scratch that one. Oh, well, just look at the overall feature, my mind says, but still I can’t get past it, the murmur of “liar, liar.”

image-of-godI can claim these three just because they speak to the last two years of my life, reinventing myself as a widow, enduring the loss and the sorrow, initiating new routines and lifestyle (even selling and buying a house), and then tackling all the little jobs that are now all mine, working to make those efforts the best they can be. But have I embraced the Presence of God in the midst of these traits as I walked them out? Not as much as I should have. Much of these are part of my nature (my family background and the influence of my mother). I know that. And yet, I also know, then the gas ran out in my energy, God was there, filling up my tank. Things might have been easier had I used God’s gas all along. Hindsight reveals much.

But out of this list, what do I really need to develop? With a conscious choice, what can I put in front of myself, like a post-it, if necessary, and say to myself: go here first.

pooh-contentmentContentment. This is not about never trying or working toward a goal, but it is saying yes to now, today, this moment, this life.
Gratefulness. And so, along with contentment must come gratitude, for what has been given and what will be given.
Patience. With some hesitation I bring this forth. Everyone says, never ask for patience, for the circumstances that demand patience will come in a flood. But, honestly, hasn’t that already happened? And isn’t patience the sister of contentment and gratefulness? I think so.

Where do I see these traits practiced? Here’s the worst confession of all. I’m not sure I know people well enough to know if they are operating in these qualities day to day. I know the courage of several acquaintances who went through challenging cancer treatments, I saw in them these qualities wrapped inside the fight for life. What charges me up is their ability to be bold and yet patient at the same time, to be confident and yet grateful, to be determined and yet content with truth.

CGP are not passive at all. That’s the clue I have about them. They are conscious. They are a choice. They are a team. And I choose to be in. Some call this mindfulness and to some degree, awareness as well. Stay awake!

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I don’t know. There are days I think I should be making an effort to engage angels; they are, after all, part of the other “realm,” the timeless place, the God environment. And I wonder, do they have a hierarchy in such a place? Can a timeless, spiritual entity be spatial?

Hebrews 1:4; 6b
So he became as much superior to the angels as the name he has inherited is superior to theirs. . . . “Let all God’s angels worship him.”

The angels and the saints worship God. And when the Messiah completed the task laid out reuniting human with God, Christ was recognized as worthy of worship, and sat, as they say, at the right hand of God. (Surely this is figurative . . . or is it?)

Based on scriptures, angels act in a great many roles throughout the telling of the Messiah story and his people (in both Testaments). Angels are created beings who worship, yes, but they also carry verbal messages to humans (and nations), they intervene and do battle against evil, and they serve God in a variety of ways from carrying out judgments to manifesting answers to prayer. Are they still doing these tasks?

But my real question is whether there is, anywhere in scripture (or perhaps in experience), an indication that I can have a relationship with an angel?

There is even (academic and not so academic) disagreement as to whether or not there exist Guardian Angels, that is angels which are “assigned” to protect or guard individual souls, particularly children. I know there are personal stories of people sensing or seeing such an angel in times of trouble or sorrow. There are also a few mystics who described interactions with their personal angels and wrote about it.

Can I be like George in It’s a Wonderful Life and chat up my angel? Ask questions, argue, complain, thank? I don’t think so.

But, before anyone gets indignant with me; I’m not saying angels don’t exist. On the contrary, I actually believe they are still among us, still doing the work of God in a variety of ways, still protecting, and still singing love songs to God. But I don’t believe they have relationships with humans. They are too different, too outside our human realm of understanding and perception. It would be like trying to have a relationship with the wind, even though we can see its effects and even predict its behavior, we cannot “know” it.

It is for this very reason that God manifested Jesus in human form, so that we could “get it,” or at least observe and hopefully follow. It’s specifically because Jesus offers a relationship that our experience with God is transformed. He is not the wind but a baby in a manger, a boy in the temple, a teacher on a hill, and a martyr on a cross. And after all this 3-D work, Christ passes along to us the Holy Spirit who dwells within, to guide us some more, to teach us some more and to ultimately heal us.

The realm of God is undoubtedly more diverse and expansive than anything here on earth. And yet, just as humans were made in God’s image, I wonder, is Earth (natural Earth) created after an image as well? And who knows, maybe angels are the creative spark. Something to think about.

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John 1:8b-9
…he [John] came only as a witness to the light.[NIV] That was the true Light which gives light to every man [and woman] coming into the world. [NKJV]

John the Baptizer was a witness to “the true Light.” He began his ministry because it was important to tell everyone about the light. They had forgotten about the light. They could not longer see the light in each other. Just talking about the light brought light into a dark place.

As human beings, I believe we are all given light. Made in God’s image, we are bequeathed the light. But, what do we do with it? Do we hide it under a bushel? Do we distort it? Do we ignore it? And what about the light of others?

Over the last few months I’ve been really interested in the concept of the “sacred other.” It is my belief now that this sacredness is the same as the light that is within each one of us. Accepting Christ is not about accepting the light; we have that already. But the light of Christ fuels our personal light and shines brighter. Light is the root of love.

To witness to the light is to recognize light in others and fuel that fire with the light of Christ. Like John, we are to tell our stories. As we follow the way of Christ, our stories carry light.

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