Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Anglican Lutheran Lenten Reflections

Human Beings and the Image of God (Psalm 8:3-9)

Daily Lenten Reflection - Sunday, 19 March 2017

Week 4: Human Beings—Not for Sale1

Week 4, Day 1

Article XVII, “Of Predestination and Sin,” The Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion

Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the foundations of the world were laid) he hath constantly decreed by his counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation, as vessels made to honour. Wherefore, they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God’s purpose by his Spirit working in due season: they through Grace obey the calling: they be justified freely: they be made sons of God by adoption: they be made like the image of his only-begotten Son Jesus Christ: they walk religiously in good works, and at length, by God’s mercy, they attain to everlasting felicity.

As the godly consideration of Predestination, and our Election in Christ, is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons, and such as feel in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh, and their earthly members, and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal Salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God…

Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise, as they be generally set forth to us in holy Scripture: and, in our doings, that Will of God is to be followed, which we have expressly declared unto us in the Word of God.

Human Beings and the Image of God (Psalm 8:3-9)

Thamesha Watson, Lutheran, Guyana

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you have established; what are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor. You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Sovereign, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

There is a paradox, a mystery—fouled by sin, and yet we believe that we should behave justly; so corrupt by power, but we have supremacy over other living beings; so inferior to God, and yet called honorable by God; so fragile and broken, yet so precious and cherished in the sight of God. We are wonderfully created, tarnished by sin, loved by a perfect God and redeemed through God’s Son.

“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion …” (Gen 1:26). It is clear that we human beings are fearfully and wonderfully made in the “image of God.”

Creative, intelligent, aesthetic, moral, relational, loving, spiritual—these qualities reflect the image in which we have been created. An image is a reflection of the original. Images can sometimes be hazy and distorted but they do not exist on their own. Similarly, we cannot exist on our own. We need our original image, God, in order to exist. However, this image has been cast aside. Instead of reflecting God’s perfect image, we reflect exactly what we crave and consume in our worldly pursuits.

We see a colossal escalation of ineptness, ignorance, ugliness, immorality, separation, hatred, godlessness; this questions our humanity. Do we reflect God’s true image? Are we rational, ethical, companionable beings hungering after God? When we look into the mirror of our souls, whose reflection do we really see?

Because of this, God sent us the perfect similitude, Jesus Christ, to remind us of the image from the beginning when it was only God who existed. This image not only helps us to see who we really are, but whose we are and who God is.

God continues to extend God’s loving arms of grace and beckons us to a relationship that once was and that will be forever. A perfect coexistence between God and humankind, the way it was in the beginning. Amen.

“On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the Anglican-Lutheran International Coordinating Committee has compiled a collection of Lenten reflections to commemorate the anniversary. The text can be used by small groups or individual, as a Lenten reading or as a resource for the weeks between Easter and Trinity Sunday. We are sharing these reflections daily during Lent, hoping that our common experience of God’s grace may draw our two families of churches closer together in this extraordinary year, and be used beyond 2017 and actually at any time.”