Déjà vu, All Over Again
Since we are God’s offspring, we ought not to think that the deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of mortals. Acts 17:29
Do you recognize the people in either of these pictures? I will give you a hint – both are high-school age musicians, and both guys are pretty full of themselves. To me, the person on the left appears to emulate the image of the person on the right.
Most of you will recognize Justin Bieber, teenage heartthrob, on the left. Some may guess the picture on the right is me in high school, a teenage heartthrob wannabe. Perhaps the images are not so strikingly similar, but I saw an image of Justin Bieber in a restaurant the other day and it reminded me of, well, the me of years ago.
We are a very image-conscious society. Within the physical limitations of our genetic wiring, most of us strive to portray a particular image. When we look in the mirror, who do we want to remind people of – Justin Bieber? In general, we all possess a random combination of physical characteristics from our biological parents. But who do we imitate, physically? More importantly, who do we imitate spiritually? From the beginning to the end of the Bible are reminders that we are created in the image of God. We are God’s offspring, God’s children. Surely we bear a resemblance to God, just as we do to our parents. God expresses in an infinite variety of wonderful and beautiful ways, although there are recurring patterns that resemble one another – things that makes us think we have seen this before. Like the pictures above, for example.
I believe there are common traits shared by those seeking to emulate God. Among those characteristics are love, justice, mercy, service, and peace. Those God-like characteristics are just as recognizable as any physical image we attempt to portray, and a whole lot more useful to humanity. The molds of spiritual superstars are like déjà vu, all over again — repeated throughout history – holy images waiting for aspiring disciples to emulate. Unlike our physical features, which tend to deteriorate over time, our spiritual qualities mature and expand. The physical attractiveness of Justin Bieber, like that of Greg Hildenbrand, will lose its boyish charm as he ages. When we consider whose image we seek to reflect to others, it is wise to choose an image that will improve over time.
Come home to church this Sunday. And if you want to see how Justin Bieber may appear a few decades from now, come to FUMC Lawrence and take a look!