We recreate God in our image.
The Reverend Instructor stood before his pupils at the School of Sacred Painting. Today’s subject was painting portraits of God.
The Reverend Instructor described the essence of God portraits, their proper angle and image. He explained the proper colors, proper design and all that was generally right or wrong with most God portraits.
Then with brush in hand, he swept the canvas first in broad strokes. Over them he caressed the image with fine lines, then with detailed dabs and touches. The pupils followed his example and brushed similar God portraits. As they progressed, they noticed that their paintings increasingly resembled the face of the Reverend Instructor.
A few whispered their suspicion. One laid his brush down and folded his arms. But most said nothing and continued painting. Each canvas across the room bore an image that with every stroke appeared more like the Instructor.
The Dean Instructor of the School of Sacred Painting walked by and stopped at the door. Seeing the Reverend Instructor’s virtual self-portrait and the pupils’ dutiful copies, he stomped into the room and shouted, “These are not proper portraits of God!”
The folded-armed student smiled; the whisperers quieted; the others stopped with eyes wide.
The Dean Instructor held up his doctoral degree for the students to see. Then he hauled the growling Reverend Instructor out the door.
The Dean Instructor threw the canvas to the floor and picked up another. The students watched as he brushed a corrective portrait. He swept the canvas first in broad strokes. Over them he caressed the image with fine lines, then with detailed dabs and touches. Each touch of the brush evoked an image that looked very much like . . . himself.
For Thought and Discussion
- What is your image of God? How was it formed? How has it changed? It has been said that God created us in his image, and we have returned the favor. What does that mean? What are some examples?
- Matthew 15:1–19 depicts how our traditions supersede God’s truth. How have you experienced that? What might you do about it?
- Without really thinking, many of us will in various ways assume or act as if God is “one of us.” How does Joshua 5:13–15 dispel such notions? What do you think this passage is saying in a general sense? How will you respond?