From the Youth Pastor
The Messy Marvelous Mosaic
As many have said in the Church Growth movement, “People count, so we count people”. It is important to value people, for there is beauty, worth, and uniqueness to be recognized and appreciated in every individual. This is not by chance, for no matter what we say about it, it’s a fact that God designed and made you a particular person. He made others also as distinct and particular persons. In this way we are separate from each other. Yet, we are also inscrutably linked to each other, in that we share in the remarkable commonality of being made in the image of God (Imago Dei).
When I was a kid I thought if you collected everyone’s image and somehow morphed them all together you would then see the face of God. Surprise! This isn’t what image-bearing is all about. Theologian Gordon Wenham simply describes what it means to be made in the image of God. He writes, “The image is a capacity to relate to God. Man’s divine image means that God can enter into personal relationships with him, speak to him, and make covenants with him”. In other words, by our very design we have a relational capacity to know God unlike any other creature. So we are all unique, but at the same time we’re alike as image-bearers.
However, this great “Imago Dei” that we bear unfortunately has cracks in it. Though God created us to be with Him, our sin mars the image and separates us from God (Genesis 1-3). Designed and groaning for relationship is now the human predicament and we are unable to attain communion via our individual efforts. Because of our impotence, many false and illusive glimmers of “communion” entice us into trying to connect (sex, drugs, and social media of course). But on our own (and in our sin) life just loses its taste, for we are “in vain” and everything is ultimately meaningless (Ecclesiastes). Desperately, every individual needs to be whole, or, more accurately, needs to be spiritually communing with the whole (God and His people). This happens through the gracious work of God who “… in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them…” (2 Cor. 5:19).
Individually reconciled through and by the redemptive work of Jesus is the only help for communion with God (wholeness), although it would be wrong to suggest that God needs us to be whole (Acts 17:25). It’s this reconciliation that not only brings individuals into redeemed relationship with God (vertical), but also each other (horizontally). Oh how good it is that the shattered mess of God’s image can be redeemed to be an important piece of the human “mosaic” that God is making. The unique piece is important, but it finds a greater purpose, beauty, and communion when it’s in relationship with the whole. When all those individual pieces are brought together with the other “broken pieces” they together amplify visual beauty like no one piece could ever achieve on its own. Praise God for the messy but marvelous mosaic we are together in knowing Jesus and being His people.