Earlier today I let you know about the new, extra photography dates for our pictorial directory. February 21-22 – sign up on our home page – www.oursaviorswestsalem.org. Over 200 already have had their photos taken. Please, if you haven’t, do it – we want you to be a part of our directory. You are part of us, and we value your presence. Even if you haven’t been around much lately, you are still important (really, I’ll get to that in a few moments) – and we want your “mug” with the rest of us!
After the first 200+ photos, we can say a few things for certain. We’ve heard good comments on the photographers, and a bit of relief that the days of the “hard sell” to buy pictures seem to be long gone. Pretty much everyone has said the experience was a good one.
But the best news is that not one camera has broken, and there haven’t been any reports of misplaced photographers thumbs in the picture. Sound a bit facetious? Hardly! The top three comments as people arrived to be photographed?
3. I hope the photographer’s thumb doesn’t make it into my picture!
2. Really, I don’t take a good picture.
1. I hope the camera doesn’t break!
OK, I know its a joke, but…is it? How many of us really, really like who we are, how we look, and what we are? Somewhere, deep down inside most of us – maybe all of us – is a little tinge of self-doubt and waning self-esteem. We may put on a good face, and project some confidence, but deep down, well, we’re not so sure where and how we rate.
We look at others and see those who seem to be better off, better looking, and better thought of. Some of that comes from social media. No one puts their “worst face forward” on Facebook. Instead, they project a confident, self assured life. We put our best looking pic (you know, our best “mug) for the world to see. We proudly share the accomplishments of our kids – not their challenges and “hiccups.” We let everyone see the fabulous vacation trip, and the other treats of life. All the while, we know that there is another side to our lives.
The problem is that then we look at the same stuff shared by others, without seeing the other side. And since we know our projection has a darker side, yet we don’t see theirs, we imagine we are behind. We are lacking.
Now, mind you, this is not a creation of Facebook or any other social media. It’s been around longer than that. Centuries, even millennia really. It’s been around pretty much forever. Part of what makes us human!
That makes sense. Being human means being vulnerable, broken, and flawed. And knowing what we are deep down inside, its just natural – we aren’t all that confident – or even comfortable – with what we really are.
But we are more than that. We reflect the divine.
From the creation story in Genesis: So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
Of course, that doesn’t mean we “look” like God. I don’t look in the mirror and imagine that God is around 5’9”, male Caucasian, with some graying hair.
Yet, as I look in the mirror I do see God’s image. I see a face, flawed and imperfect, but nonetheless a face created by God in God’s image. Not in the color of the skin or the shape of the features. Deeper than that. Really deep. A face that bears God’s image in its very essence. That is my face!
That face was photographed last (well, other than the two new make-up dates). Pastor Jean, Rebecca and I had the last slot of the initial picture dates. And there’s good news – my face didn’t break the camera!
And the photographer’s thumb didn’t interfere!
And the picture wasn’t all that bad!
Because, that picture bears God’s image. Just like yours does.
Bearing God’s image means two things. First, I’m not so bad after all. Yes, I’m flawed, broken, vulnerable, and quite imperfect. Yet, at the same time I am beloved by God, marked with the cross of Jesus, and made in God’s image. I am precious and valuable. So valuable that in the fullness of time, and the right moment, God acted to secure my freedom, my life, and my future. God sent Jesus to the cross!
All because God sees something in me. God sees the image of the divine – God sees God in my face.
Makes me pretty special, don’t you think?
But second, God also sees that in you. In others. As I look out into a world of friends, foes, and strangers, in each face I see, I see the image of God. If I’m willing to really take a look!
And that makes you and everyone else around me not only bearers of God’s image, but also incredible gifts to me in the midst of my journey of life. YOU are something special! (So there, that’s why I really want you in the new directory!)
I don’t always get that, and I certainly don’t always act like that is true, so if I have hurt or harmed you, ignored or dismissed you, I am deeply and profoundly sorry. Because if I have done that, I have failed to see a very basic and fundamental part of who and what you are – that you bear the image of God.
But more than that, if I can acknowledge who and what you are, and who and what others are, maybe I can treat you with a bit more respect, and even begin to treasure you and what your bring to my life.
And if all of us could do that to each other, just what would that do the world in which we live?