That I exist, breathe, enjoy beauty, interact with others, think, feel – all this astonishes me. I am deeply grateful for the life I have been given. I was born in a free country, and have never lacked the necessities of food, shelter and clothing. But for all that there were decades when aside from my name, I could not have answered the simple question, who are you.
Being able to answer that question, positively, lays the foundation for a healthy life. Often people answer it with what they do – their function: butcher, baker, candle-stick maker. That wasn’t the question. Who are you? I’m sure we have all heard the maxim – that we are human beings, not human doings. But what does it mean to be a being?
The Eternal God, the creator, referred to Himself over and over again as I AM. Jesus enraged the Scribes and Pharisees by referring to himself the same way, I AM. Christianity, one of the three monotheistic religions, differs from Judaism and Islam, by worshipping a Triune God. The concept of the Trinity is admittedly difficult; theologians have written shelves full of books on the subject. I make it simple; how could God be described as love – eternally – had been no ‘other’ before creation? (It’s easy to be loving on your own. Adding another person or two or three – aye, there’s the rub.)
Life is a mystery; it is riddled with questions. Though I don’t understand everything, I experience the love of God daily. I experienced being brought out of the darkness into the light by Christ’s death on the cross. And I experience the ever-available power of the Holy Spirit to live a life pleasing to God, as I focus on Jesus in the Word.
The who question for me is answered in relationship. I am the much-loved daughter of the most-high God, created ‘in His Image’ – three of the most powerful words ever written. My identity, my purpose, and my strength all spring from my relationship with God. My roots draw nourishment from the rich soil of His love.
And what would relationship be without communication? Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice.” He tells me who and what I am. I work out that identity within the context of relationships with family, friends, co-workers, neighbors. I am child of, mother of, grandmother of, friend of. I am patient or not, kind or not, generous or not – only in relation to others.
How vast the chasm of meaning, purpose and hope between arising from primordial goo – an accident of an evolving universe – and being the intricately designed and fashioned child of the creator of the universe. We use phrases – like father, like son – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree – a chip off the old block – the spitting image. Your perception of your lineage has a huge impact on your attitude, your behavior and the hope that underlies them. To learn you are a child of the king changes everything.
From the goo to you via the zoo – or John 1: 12 & 13
Masterpiece Before the beginning of time before the world’s very foundations were laid for His joy, for His purpose in His image you were made.* And He delighted in you. How does His spirit shine through you, a flesh and blood spirit and soul? It isn’t in rules and externals, a long list of should nots or shoulds, but simply to love and be loved by a Father eternally good. He is the potter who fashions the vessel, The gardener who shapes the tree with great skill, the sculptor who chisels each stone till it’s perfect; all you need do is submit to His will. *Psalm 139, Ephesians 1:4
He prunes, shapes, and chisels because He is an artist. Being the object of these verbs, though often uncomfortable, is always beneficial. God, who creates beauty, five times remarked of his handiwork in creation, that “It was good”. After creating man in His image, male and female, He said, “It was very good.” We were created for his pleasure and purposes. We find our highest joy in knowing Him.
With all that is happening in the world right now I find this song especially comforting.