imago Dei: more than words | 1 Thess. 1:2-7
We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God. For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
1 Thessalonians 1:2-7 | KJV
Most of our time these next few weeks will be spent in Paul's first letter to the believers in first century Thessalonica (we know it as 1 Thessalonians). This is one of those early communities of believers that Paul helped to launch, and his primary label or tag for them is that of their being "imitators" of God and Christ. They became such clear reflections of Christ that that reflection was seen throughout the region. Imago Dei had found a home among these who had previously worshipped hand-crafted idols essentially made in their own image and that of their culture and religion. As Paul says, "Something happened in you."
There's the key.
It was more than words.
It involved words, but it was more than words, whether another's words or their own. Something happened in them. And that inner happening changed everything - changed them. They became imitators of the Message and the messenger, and ultimately became imitators of Christ. An inner wellspring of love began gushing within them, spilling out into an enthusiastic embrace of one another in life-empowering circles of fellowship and community in an ongoing pursuit of Truth - truth that was spelled only one way for them:
Has "something happened in you" - or are you still waiting?
God, let your face be reflected in mine, your heart in my heart, your voice in my voice, your touch in every touch of my hand, every movement of my life - whether feeble and faltering or fearless and faithful. Through Christ.