“It will probably amaze us to realize that when the Creator of the universe wanted to create something “in his image,” something more like himself than all the rest of creation, he made us!
This realization will give us a profound sense of dignity and significance as we reflect on the excellence of all the rest of God’s creation.” **
I’ve been fascinated recently with the idea of creation. Not just creation in a capital “C” kind of sense. Stars. Seas. That kind of thing. Yes, Creation in that sense is certainly fascinating. But I’m more interested right now in how God has allowed us to be a part of the creation process. In our own human ways.
Songs. Stories. Sentences.
What we create with our heads and our hands.
But it’s our hearts that have me moved the most. Because it’s with our hearts that we create our greatest creations.
Most years I spend a couple of weeks out in Colorado. One skiing with high school students over Spring Break at the end of winter. Another backpacking with rising-College Freshmen at the end of summer. I love it out there. All year round. Snow. Sun. Whatever. It’s God’s Country. Heaven’s gonna have a lot of Colorado. No doubt about it.
I play this game out there sometimes. Driving down those old Wild West highways, I look for my own land. A ranch with acres of grass and dirt and mountain views. I think of myself sitting on a front porch at the end of a hard day’s work. Feet propped up. Guitar playing. Star gazing. It’s romantic, right?
But before I get too far down that dirt road, I turn back around pretty quickly. You see, the freedom to walk around in the nude would wear off pretty quickly for me. And after that joy ran out, I think it’d be mighty lonely out there. Even with the missus out there.
My mom could tell you from watching me all through childhood, I hated being alone. I always had friends staying over. Some for nights in a row. Weeks even. Seriously. God wired me in such a way that I love being around people. Always.
As I’ve gotten older, though, I’ve been able to balance that out a bit with the joy of solitude, but I still lean heavily on living in community. Not necessarily commune style. At least not yet. But being in the presence of others, especially those I consider myself closest to. That’s what brings me deep contentment. And I don’t think it’s any accident.
I always tell my friend and coworker that if we ever moved our backpacking trips from the mountains of Colorado to somewhere less glorious, say, Kansas, that I’m not sure I’d skip a beat. Sure a week in the peaks is great. But for me, there is something far greater. Always, in every situation, people matter infinitely more than place. It’s who I’m with way more than where I’m at.
God created the Rocky Mountains to bring him glory. I could stare at them for hours. When I’m out there, I lose myself in the beauty. Sometimes it’s just too beautiful. Seriously. I have to look away. They are that glorious.
But God did not create the Rockies with his own likeness in mind. We, on the other hand, carry a different story.
We hold a “great dignity as bearers of God’s image.” **
At the end of those summer backpacking Colorado nights, the big group of us sits down by a fire. One person speaks. Everyone else listens. And it’s more powerful than any sight you’ve ever seen. We share our “life stories”. One at a time. Slowly. Soundly. Sincerely. After about an hour, your love for that person has magnified in a way that is infinite in the significance it holds.
N.T. Wright wrote a great devotional a little while back called Reflecting the Glory. It’s perfect for Lent. I highly recommend it. In it he explains “how we can reflect the glory of God by living the life of Jesus in the world…even at the lowest and weakest points of our lives.” As you hear a person share their highs. Lows. Valleys in between. You begin to see glimpses of God. Bits. Pieces. Fragments.
Of the most glorious creation ever created.
“We are the culmination of God’s infinitely wise and skillful work of creation. Even though sin has greatly marred that likeness, we nonetheless now reflect much of it, and shall even more as we grow in likeness to Christ.” **
We are the reflections of his glory. Looking at each other points us towards looking at Him. Even if those mirrors are chipped and broken. These reflections are still beautiful.
And that is why I love community. People over place. Who over where.
Us. Growing in likeness to Christ. Together.
** from Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith by Wayne Grudem