What exactly does it mean to be created in the image and likeness of God? As a child, I accepted this Bible quote in a literal sense. But looking around, I saw people who looked very different. And what about the child who was born without arms? What about the person who was blind? Were they not made in God’s image?
Is it the fact that we have hands and feet in the same way that Jesus had hands and feet? Or is it that we are meant to use those hands to serve others as Jesus did? Are we meant to walk beside someone who needs our support and to lead others to a good life just as God helped Moses lead the Israelites to the Promised Land? Are we meant to see past age, gender or skin color so that we can see the real person inside the skin and bones in order to understand the goodness that dwells within?
We are created in the image of God with eyes to see, hands to help, feet to walk, and a heart to love. Recently, I watched a father showing his young daughter this lesson in church. Holding her close, he pointed to the altar and whispered what the priest was doing during the Mass. In this way, he taught her that while there is much to see, she can focus on what is good and what she will choose to look for in life. Glancing toward his pregnant wife, he pulled a bottle of water from his daughter’s diaper bag and handed it to his little girl with a few whispered instructions. The child carefully tiptoed away and, with a smile as big as sunshine, she handed the water to her mother and then patted her mother’s tummy. I couldn’t hear the words the little one spoke, but everyone around that family knew that she was talking to her new baby brother or sister. No one who had eyes to see or a mind that was open to love could deny that two precious human children lived within that family, and a congregation of adults witnessed a lesson of love and caring for all of God’s children.
The disciples listened to every word Jesus spoke. In the same way, every word we speak sows seeds in the minds of those around us. Are we sowing seeds of kindness and respect for others are do we sow weeds that choke out the goodness in the hearts of those who hear our words?
Throngs of people followed Jesus as He taught them on the hillsides. Do we lead people toward a future of life and hope or toward sadness and empty promises?
Jesus washed His disciples’ feet – feet that were dusty from walking on unpaved streets and that may not have been bathed for days. Do we shirk the opportunities to help those who we might consider to be stinky and dirty or do we perform miracles with the simple touch of a caring hand willing to help someone in need?
Is it our outward appearance or are we created to be similar to God in what we do and how we see or treat others? We must work toward becoming more like Him. God is love and we, too, must love all of His children – young, old and those waiting to be born.