We opened our time together in Genesis 1:25-27 and John 17:11-18. In those sections of scripture we were introduced to the concept of Imago Dei as well as how Jesus himself prays for his people.
Jesus’ heart for us is that we would be united—that we would be one. Pastor Brian launched into a new series called, Reach United, in which he identified areas where we often settle for something that looks like unity but is not.
The vision for these first two weeks is to lay a foundation for when we dive head first into discussions about race, sexuality and politics in 2020. This is for the purpose of leaning into conversations that try to divide us. We are asking God to meet us in the mess and provide us with opportunites to walk in unity as a church family through this series.
Let’s read together.
Read this from the Bible together:
25 So God made the wildlife of the earth according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that crawl on the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.”
27 So God created man
in his own image;
he created him in the image of God;
he created them male and female.
Some key statements and questions put forward that are important for us to talk about…
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness.” This verse reveals that we are capable of showing the world what God is like. Do you put much thought into the truth that you are “made in the image of God”, why or why not?
So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God. If our identity is to be image bearers of God and our activity is to reflect his character in what ways are you growing in God-likeness? And in what areas do you need to confess you’ve been less than God-like?
…he created them male and female. As humans we are are different from one another, yet both created in the image of God. Do you agree with Pastor Brian that any dehumanization of someone based upon gender, race, sexuality, ability or background is violence against them? In what ways have you experienced or been the instigator of such violence whether physically, verbally or emotionally?
“We are all broken mirrors, but through Jesus and the gospel of grace we are being put back together.” If our faith is in Jesus, our identity is perpetually being repaired so that we can reflect his justice, peace and heart to those around us. How can this idea increase grace when encountering people in a different “stage” of their mirror mending?
James 3:9-10 reveals how we should not be people who “bless and curse” others at the same time. What cursing have you allowed yourself or others to speak in your presence that does not affirm the identity and community that every human is created for? Ask Jesus who are the people or individuals that you’ve been denying full humanity to?
”God is a unified community—you can’t reflect the image of God on your own.” You need the family of God. This means we need to offer our clumsy, yet sincere selves to one another. Ask each other these questions: “What are my blindspots in my understanding of community? What don’t I see about myself? Help me see where I can grow in unity with others.”