Hebrews 12:14

Pursue peace with everyone, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.


Greetings from Pastor Dan!

We are made in the image of God. It says so in Genesis. But what does that mean, exactly? Does it mean that God looks like a person? Does it mean our minds are similar to God’s mind? Does it mean that there are qualities of ourselves that we can recognize in God?

People have been wondering over it for thousands of years, and there doesn’t really seem to be a concrete answer that everyone agrees upon. One thing that I’ve long believed, though, is that it is possible to see God in other people, and it is possible for others to see God in us. If we do not try to live into the God that created us, how will anyone be able to see God at all?

I saw Hebrews 12:14 lived out last Thursday at the inaugural event of First Parish’s summer concert series. I saw a large group of people, some from First Parish, some from other churches in the area, some from a local synagogue, a few folks who hadn’t been to First Parish in quite some time, and a sizeable number of folks who were just part of the community and heard about something fun happening on the green. As far as diversity in York goes, it was a pretty diverse crowd. Different faith traditions (or lack thereof) were represented, there were folks from all different political and ideological perspectives, and there was a cross-section of generations and a cross-section of personalities.

And here all of these people were, pursuing peace with one another. Kids of all ages were playing with each other, adults who had never met were striking up conversations and even (gasp) letting the music shake them up a bit. I was one of the folks passing out the freshly made loaves of bread at intermission, and I witnessed people joyfully ripping off hunks and sharing them with their neighbors. I saw holiness in the eyes of the people gathered, whoever they were and whatever they believed. I saw God in the people gathered there and in the ways that they treated each other.

Created in the image of God, we—all people—can be vessels of God. If we all strive to live into holiness, it allows others to encounter that holiness more and more in their own lives. Acknowledging that changes the way we interact, because if we are the best representatives God has, don’t we have a duty to give it our all?

Prayer: Holy God, fill me with your love and inspire me to be your representative in all my words and all my actions. May I see you in others, and may they see you in me. Amen.