Dear Church Family,
The first three weeks of the Biblical Foundations course have provided timely reflection for me over the last twelve days. During week one, I led a session on ‘God as Trinity’ and highlighted the passages in the Old Testament where the life of the triune God is visible. This means that we can witness to the work of Christ in the Old Testament, before his incarnation, as God sets about creating the world. The two subsequent weeks of the course focussed on that act of creation.
They are timely because tomorrow is Trinity Sunday, but more importantly because they speak of the innate value of humanity. George Floyd was made in the image of God. George Floyd was a person of utmost value. As Christians we know this to be true:
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27)
What happened to George Floyd on the 25th May was an outrage because those arresting him failed to see the image of God in him. He was denied the very thing that made him human.
Trinity Sunday tells us that the God we have come to know in Jesus Christ is diverse. Therefore, if we are made in his image, we were made to be diverse too. If God was simply one, then there would be no need to create male and female. But because God is a loving union of three, we witness the need for him to create difference. This difference goes beyond gender too. Wherever we are from, whatever we look like, whatever our preferences, however we are wired: we are all image-bearers of the divine. St Paul knew this to be true and raised the bar for Christians when he wrote,
“ As many of you as were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.” (Gal 3:27-28)
Our goal as the church is to be reconciled to Jesus Christ and to each other through the blood shed on the cross. In all our diversity, in all our difference, we are called to treat every human being we encounter with the dignity and respect we afford our Christian sisters and brothers. Every person is your neighbour.
What we have seen in the protests and marches around the world, particularly in America, is not just about the death of one man. It is about the centuries of systematic oppression that the black community have had to endure. It is about white power and privilege, it is about ignoring the divine image in black people, it is about the repeated deaths of black people at the hands of the police and it’s about white citizens who get twitchy trigger fingers when they see a black person in their neighbourhood. It’s about racism. And it’s evil.