Our community meets on Mondays for a communal meal, and some discussion around the bible. This last night my wife lead the discussion time, but rather than continue on in Matthew, we reflected on what we had focused on at our last time together.
Last community meal we looked at the famous story of Jesus dealing with the issue of taxation. But looked at it from a different perspective than the usual, "be a good citizen, pay your taxes, and then be a good Christian too" Rather we looked at the radical, and very subversive message that Jesus showed in the passage, and then lived out in his life. It was all an issue of identity and idolatry. By placing value on idols, "graven images" the people of Israel were losing site of their own image and identity. Jesus shows in this passage that money, bears the image of empire, and is therefore by its very being aligned with, and an idol for empire. But we, are image bearers of the creator of the universe. We are made in the image and likeness of God, and called very good. And we should worry about handing over our own selves to God, and don't worry about a worthless idol to a kingdom we do not belong to.
Well, enough of my preaching. Raquel lead us to look at this issue of identity and image bearing. She had us write on labels, who we identified ourselves as. I wrote, father, husband, son, black belt (yes I am a bit vain) construction worker. And who others identified us as, I wrote pastor, theologian. And then we were invited to write labels and place them on the other people in the room. Raquel then had us share what was stuck to our bodies, the labels of our own and others. The images that had been placed upon us.
She then read the account of humankind's creation. She read in Pauls epistles that we are neither Jew, or Greek, or male or female, or slave or free. She went further and said we are neither gay nor straight, white nor black, vegan nor carnivore. And she invited us to take all of our labels off, and to sit in silence for a while and just be...
the image of God
it was beautiful