imago Dei: in Joy and Trouble | 1 Thessalonians 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 Thess. 1:2-7 | KJV
Something in me resists speaking of "polishing the rough surfaces of our lives into a mirror that clearly reflects God and Christ." No matter how much I clarify that such "polishing" is an internal work of God that we embrace and partner with, I'm afraid too many will only be confirmed in an unhealthy obsessive compulsive pursuit of holiness that doesn't just smear but smash the reflection. Too many of us spend far too much time polishing our faces for public appearances at church events and meetings. Too few of us appreciate that the image of God reflects from our faces in the most profound and glorious ways when we aren't even trying. It's often in our most "unpolished" moments - yes, even when we're cranky! - moments when life and we along with it are falling to pieces and we wonder how God could possibly be reflected in the pile of shattered pieces that all too often is our life - at least from what we see. So crucial for us to remember that being divine image bearers isn't a matter of having or keeping ourselves or our lives together. In this upside down kingdom of God that Jesus has ushered into the world, the more cracked, broken, shattered we are, the clearer the reflection. It's such a key turning point for each of us, when that "something" happens in us, empowering us to take the trouble with the joy and the joy with the trouble.
And that is worth just a bit of reflection...
Who do you know whose life has been shattered - only to have the coherent and healing reflection of God made clearer through all the broken pieces? How does this encourage you with regard to the broken pieces of your own life?
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.