Wednesday, April 15, 2015

THYME Magazine: The Mandate in Imago Dei

Citizen Journalism with a Better Flavor

Volume IX, Issue XVI

What Imago Dei Tells Us

For the past week a disturbing image has been circulating the news of what appears to be cold-blooded murder. A man appears to be fleeing a police officer and is shot in the back by that officer. We don't know the details, and do not offer any 'theories,' but merely suggest that something is terribly wrong here. Most of us recoil at the thought of taking another life. Most of us extend the courtesy of human dignity to those who are different from us -- and yet, I recall when taking my car to a new garage in the town I used to live in, the mechanic said something that shocked me. He was a good mechanic and appeared to be a decent guy. He had served in Korea and was relating the experience to another worker in the shop. He talked about them having a black guy in the unit. They hated him for some reason. The mechanic used the more vulgar term for describing this man and I think I heard him say that they put him in a position to get killed.

I thought of that man's mother. Perhaps there was a wife or girlfriend. Children? I was in no mood for a confrontation that day, so I did not ask for a clarification. The mechanic's tone indicated he was pretty set in his ways. Clarification was not likely to be pleasant. I never went back there. I have not told the story before, but now the garage is gone. We are shocked by such stories but every day people kill people for being in the 'wrong' group around the world. ISIS kills Christians, Hutus and Tutsis are rivals though most outside of their lands cannot tell them apart. One of my friends from school went to Northern Ireland in the 1970's to study the situation there. A car exploded in the street while he walked in Belfast. He actually got an interview with Bernadette Devlin. We awaited his report eagerly.

He said he had met Catholics, Protestants and a few people in both churches who said that they related intimately with G-d, like children of their Father. These were the ones who extended forgiveness and the gift of recognition to those outside their cultural church. They were the 'Blessed Peacemakers.' -- Matthew 5:9 These people had a vision for their country not unlike that of Dr. Martin Luther King in our own. They saw a day in the future when Protestants and Catholics would share their land without oppression or conflict.

The 'Blessed Peacemakers' of Northern Ireland have a lesson for us in our own time. We can see outside the parameters of our own group (and wrongs done to it) and embrace the larger family of G-d's Children. That means we mourn EVERY child's death by violence, be he like us or not. We see the travesty of lives destroyed because they are precious to their Creator. Genesis says that each is made in His Image. To miss this truth is to go the way of destruction like that seen in Rwanda, where the Hutu majority slaughtered the Tutsi and moderate Hutus. [1.]

Corbels and Carillons

Grace United Methodist Church in Middletown, Virginia. [2.]

Photo by Bob Kirchman

Stephens City United Methodist Church [3.]... Photo by Bob Kirchman

...contains this Shulmerlich Carillon, probably built in the 1960's. The instrument was played by punched rolls (like a player piano), and each note was struck on a small rod and amplified electronically. The sound was broadcast from speakers in the belfry.
Photo by Bob Kirchman.

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