God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature, so they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.” God created human beings; he created them godlike, reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female. – Genesis 1:26-27 (The Message)
What does it mean to be made in the image of God? What is God’s nature like? What then should our nature be like? What all are we responsible for?
This is a story I have heard before.
Word spread across the countryside about the wise Holy Man who lived in a small house atop the mountain. A man from the village decided to make the long and difficult journey to visit him. When he arrived at the house, he saw an old servant inside who greeted him at the door. “I would like to see the wise Holy Man,” he said to the servant. The servant smiled and led him inside. As they walked through the house, the man from the village looked eagerly around the house, anticipating his encounter with the Holy Man. Before he knew it, he had been led to the back door and escorted outside. He stopped and turned to the servant, “But I want to see the Holy Man!”
“You already have,” said the old man. “Everyone you may meet in life, even if they appear plain and insignificant… see each of them as a wise Holy Man. If you do this, then whatever problem you brought here today will be solved.”
While I don’t know that all our problems will be solved if we saw each other as wise holy people, it might help. God is wise and holy, and God makes us in that image and in that nature. Even if we aren’t quite wise and holy as is, somewhere such things exist within us. The Talmud says, “From beginning to end God’s law teaches kindness.” Maybe it is in kindness we can begin to see each other as wise holy people, to see ourselves as wise holy people. And maybe in seeing that God will come and make sure that what we see is so.