I was reading a candidate’s ordination papers the other day and started pondering how we’re made in the image of God. There are those that say the imago dei is best reflected in a legal or political way. That’s a sectarian triumphalist model that gives tacit, if not explicit, approval for humankind to exert dominion over creation. Drill, Baby, Drill – strip mine, do whatever you want to Mother Earth because it’s ours and God gave it to us.
I don’t think this is how we’re best reflective of God’s image. In my reading of Genesis 1:26 it is about a God who calls Godself “US” that makes humankind in God’s image. “Us,” of course, implies plural. Now I know we don’t worship a multiplicity of gods. The Ten Commandments make it very clear that God is one. However, we also experience God’s self-revelation as Trinity. What a conundrum? Three persons yet one God? But how marvelous! When we see one member of the Trinity at work, we see all three. They are distinct but indivisble.
Therefore, as I think about us being made in God’s image I see us clearly reflecting God’s social image. It’s simple. If God needs to dwell in the community that we call the Trinity how much more do we need to live and work together. We best reflect God’s image in community!
Tomorrow we have our Clergy Orders meeting. I’m looking forward to it. Our speaker is going to talk about our denomination’s future. That will be good, but best of all we will be together as a covenant community: sharing stories, catching up, laughing, worshipping, and communing. The best Orders meeting that we have ever had in my 34 years wasn’t even an Orders meeting. This past Annual Conference we were having elections for General and Jurisdictional Conferences. The laity finished before us so only the clergy were left to continue balloting. It was late at night and everybody was walking around between ballots with some watching a baseball game piped in on the 2 big screens that we use at conference. Others were tossing frisbees. All of us were having a good time. The buzz was so positive, so real! It was one of the most significant times I have ever had at Annual Conference!
Our whole society needs times like this when we just get together and move past the casual banter of chit-chat and actually fellowship with each other. Last week I went to our first home Gamecock football game at Williams-Brice Stadium. It was good to see longtime seatmates and catch up. We all got into the atmosphere. There were some new people around us. Maybe by season’s end we’ll share one another’s stories and get past the surface, “How are you?” Better yet, maybe what we need to do is take the band off the field at halftime and we’ll all go down there and meet each other, create a community that stretches from our private tailgating all the way to the hashmarks.
World Communion Sunday is coming up soon on October 2. What a great day to lay aside the drudgery of formality and actually commune with each other authentically. Our celebration of the Eucharist will perhaps become a hearty “Thanks be to God!” because just like the Trinity we all need each other. Community is what gets us through the tough times, the tumors, and the transitions. Community is a megaphone for our triumphs, too. I’m looking forward to community wherever I can find it and make it.