IN THE IMAGE OF…? – “NEW LIFE” BULLETIN
If you look up the statement, “God created us in his image, and then we returned the favor”, you will find it is attributed to more people who claimed to have said it than those who claimed George Washington slept here. The best guess may be Voltaire. Regardless, it’s a pretty true description of how we view and relate to God.
Have we created God in our own image? Yes. And in saying that I do not mean there is no God beyond our own creation. What Voltaire and the others mean is we have taken the concept of God and shaped it into something which looks and thinks like us.
Historically this “shaping” has taken on the form of something powerful which can be seen, usually an animal. The golden calf of Egypt is an example. We still say, “Strong as an ox. Wise as an owl. Swift as a dear. Sly as a fox.” Even Jesus referred to Herod as a fox.
On a higher level, since God is invisible, (spirit) we tend to transfer our creative ability to Jesus. For those of European descent, Jesus becomes the famous Warner Sallman painting of Jesus with flowing golden hair. The Asians have him looking Asian. Rarely do you see an African Jesus, but there are some and the list is growing.
While each group understands the other, each one is a little (or a lot) put off by any representation but their own. So we create Jesus in our own image. There are those who see Jesus as the great warrior on a white horse, as depicted in John’s revelation. Clint Eastwood knew about that concept and incorporated it in several of his Western movies. However, perhaps one of his best was in Gran Torino. While not portraying a Jesus-like person, the main character gives his life to save a young man.
It goes without saying, even though I’m saying it, that the image (character) of Jesus in most Christian circles is that of a middle class man who minds his own business and stays out of any public controversy. A good example of this is the reaction toward those ministers who joined the freedom marches in the South as it struggled to throw off the chains of segregation. I can still remember the criticism toward those ministers who marched. They were told to go back home and preach the gospel. Even worse were those who protested the Viet Num War. Am I saying Jesus would have marched with Martin Luther King Jr.? If I say yes, it seems I’m making Jesus as I want him to be. If I say no, it seems I’m making him like most of us who preach. I can’t think of anything he did like that except the clearing out of the sellers in the temple. On the other hand, I believe he was cut from the cloth of the prophets, since the prophets also declared the will of God. So if I look at the prophets, I see very visible, public challengers to anything which allowed the powerful to deny justice and mercy to those who had no power.
If I look at Jesus I see someone who publically exposed the hypocrisy of the religious leaders who were also the local politicians. I see him cause public controversy when he violates the traditional view of the Sabbath. I see him expose himself so much to controversy that he is executed as an insurrectionist.
So how am I to see him as he is? I will try to see him in action and see what he speaks out against. I will listen to what he says is the will of God. I can find God’s will in what he said in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, as well as the sermon in Luke and in his other teachings. I can also see God through Jesus. In John 14:9, in response to Philip’s asking Jesus to show them (God) the Father, Jesus said, “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father.” So in the character and nature of Jesus I can see the character and nature of God.
Jesus also so told Philip, “Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” (V. 10)
Voltair and all the others are right when they say we create God in our own image. It’s next to impossible not to, with all the influence and teaching that goes on around us. We see far more Pharisees than we do those who look like Jesus. In using the Pharisees, I mean those who see keeping the rules and tradition as the most important thing. The ruler of the synagogue was right when he said there were six other days on which healing could be done, rather than practicing medicine (healing) on the Sabbath. (Lk. 13:14 ) The woman had been bent over for eighteen years, one more day wouldn’t have made a difference. Why push the rule? Good question. The answer tells us a lot about Jesus and God.
CONCERNS: Steve Gaynor’s sister, Betty, has had a stroke. When it happened she fell and hit her head. It has been over a week and she is still in a coma. She lives in Delaware. Judy (Shivers) Edwards is recovering mobility from a stroke. Her vision is also slowly returning. Her sister, Ann, is recovering from a broken leg. Jim White’s mother, Carol Jones, had a heart attack last week. She is at home, but the outlook is not good. Marjorie Wilson, Melanie Gentry, Wayne Phlegar, Tolly Nicklas, Ray and Darnel Barns, Gil Richardson, Jim and Mary Smith and Tim Elder.
OUR DAILY BREAD: APRIL 3-8
Monday: Matthew 18:10-20
Tuesday: Romans 14:1-18
Wednesday: II Thess. 3:1-16
Thursday: Genesis 45:4-28
Friday: Mark 10:17-31
Saturday: Psalm 105:1-45
OUR DAILY BREAD: APRIL 10-15
Monday: Ephesians 1:1-14
Tuesday: Philippians 1:3-18
Wednesday: II Corinthians 9:6-15
Thursday: Luke 5:17-26
Friday: I Timothy 6:1-10
Saturday: Psalm 111:1-10
April Birthdays 23-Maggie foy 25-Del Bolin
Thanks to Lyn Jordan for trimming the shrubs in front on the annex. He also took some of the wood from behind the annex as well. Since the winter was so mild, we had an excess of wood which we had not yet split. It was going to rot if not used.
The spring banquet for graduates is fast approaching. If you haven’t let Erma know if you have a child, or you are graduating from high school, college, or a vocational/training institution, do so now.
CAN YOU LEND A HAND?
Judy McWhorter has been taking communion to Jan and Gary Overstreet. If you can help by doing in one Sunday a month, let her know.
Congratulations to Jack Thompson and Nick Bolin. Jack has been accepted at VT and is also looking at the Naval Academy. Nick has been accepted into the VT Graduate program.
IT’S NOT A PLAGUE
If you see red water in the toilet bowls, it’s not a plague. We have had problems with a water leak that has been hard to find. It seems to have been in the main building downstairs women’s restroom. It has been checked and repaired, but we want to be sure. So if you red water, don’t panic.
We have had visitors from here in town as well as from Georgia. One of them wrote on the back of the visitors card how much they appreciated this lovely church family and looked forward to visiting with us in the future.
We also had a returning local woman who has moved here and said the reason she came back was that she received a follow-up call from her last visit from Connie Crites. These kindnesses do make a difference.