God-bearers

A reflection based on a post from Jenna, a WMF-Romania/Moldova Discovery Team member (who will return in Fall to do Study Abroad with WMF-Romania). 

 

I love this!
The creativity, imagination, and implementation are all fabulous!
It’s a wonderful nod to Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam (Creazione di Adamo).

Apparently, painting the wall of a Word Made Flesh community center in the middle of Chisinau, Moldova can inspire genius! 🙂

As I saw this picture a few things occurred in my mind and heart.

First, I was reminded that, if we allow ourselves to see the world with God’s eyes and heart (I like the idea of seeing with the heart), otherwise relatively banal realities can be transformed to shine forth with import and significance.

Second, I was struck again with our connection with God and God’s connection with us.   I was moved anew by the recognition that God loves us (all of us) so very much and desires to be with us.  This insight is, of course, not breaking news for many people – and thankfully so.  That connection with God is available is something readily known – if not always deeply understood, experienced, and/or practiced – by many.  However, sometimes our connection is perhaps too known per se and loses some of its luster because of familiarity.  Of course, connection with God should never really seem fully “familiar.” How ironic that it can somehow come to seem so.  Anyhow, some of you will recall the saying, “familiarity breeds contempt.”  Sometimes proximity can cause us to lose an appropriate and needed sense of awe and wonder – not because what we are near has become any less awe-ful or wonder-ful, but because of the forest and trees phenomenon.
A picture like the one from Jenna helps to remind us of the beauty and presence of the whole forest while we remain face-to-face with a particular tree trunk (or with a wall of a WMF-Moldova Community Center as may be the case).   What is/are the particular tree trunk/s you are facing?  What can help you remember the breadth of the context as well as the immediacy of the moment?

Thirdly and finally, I was reminded of the great privilege, blessing, and responsibility of the fact that we ourselves bear the image of God.  Michelangelo originally painted his picture as showcasing God outstretching his arm toward Adam.  In the original picture and in the one that we have from Jenna the hands are just a hair’s breadth from touching one another and are reaching out in a manner that could suggest that they have either just been touching or are about to do so.  This is meant to emphasize the intimate, relational connection between God and humanity; more strongly, it is meant to emphasize the similarity between God and humanity as humanity is created in Gods image.  We can extrapolate and take this portrayal a step farther.  Jenna’s photo does a good job picturing this extrapolation.  2 Cor. 5:11-21 leads us into the concept of being Christ’s ambassadors.  In so representing Christ to others we become more of what we already are…image-bearers of the Creator.

As well, we remember the passage spoken by Christ in Matthew 25, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” In thinking about both of these passages, it becomes less surprising and more simply celebratory that we see God’s arm exchanged for the arm of another human being in Jenna’s photo!  God goes so far in identifying with humanity that the Creator begins to get conceptually blurred with the creation.  We are reminded by Paul in Galatians chapter 2 that, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.”  Remember, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and now, amazingly in many senses due to our ambassadorship, the Word is still becoming flesh, the Word still dwells among us, we become active participants in incarnational Love. God loves us so much that we, through love, are allowed to be God-bearers for one another.  What a mystery; what a privilege!!

Perhaps you remember the chorus from Charles Gabriel’s 1905 hymn?
“How marvelous! How wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
How marvelous! How wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!”

Clint BaldwinClint Baldwin

Executive Director of Word Made Flesh
clint.baldwin@wordmadeflesh.com
    

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