Your God-Given, Creative DNA
In his book Finding God in Unexpected Places, Philip Yancey writes about encountering a remarkable woman in South Africa, who started a ministry in one of the most violent prisons in the country. She started small group Bible studies, did counseling, started group therapy sessions and much more.
In one year, the prison went from 279 reported acts of violence down to 2. Yancey asked her how she was able to accomplish such an incredible task. She told him that God was already present in the prison, she just needed to help reveal his presence to the inmates.
I think the dominant understanding of God in Christian culture needs some work. The fact of the matter is, God is present in all things, in all spaces, in all times. I have come to believe that God is the very "ground of our being," as some theologians have offered.
But most of us struggle to experience God because we've been taught that God is high in his holy temple, removed from us by some imaginary gulf between heaven and earth. So many people still see God as a slightly grumpy old man with a white beard, peering through the clouds, watching to make sure we don't screw things up too badly.
It's difficult to talk about God without imposing some of our own desires and ideas upon God, which in turn serves to limit our understanding of God. I know. It sounds kind of messed up, but here's a way to understand this better by way of a couple of questions.
What if God was so much more than merely a being, like we are beings? What if we were able to imagine God (as those theologians I mentioned believed) as the very source of all things? And what if God, in God's infinite wisdom, decided to impart some of God's DNA to human beings?
Consider this: When that woman Philip Yancey met in South Africa walked into that awful prison, she carried with her some innate knowledge that propelled her into a vibrant and powerful ministry of restoration and redemption. Here's what she knew:
Every one of those inmates was created in God's image with the same God-given ability to create beauty, fulfill their destiny and to embrace eternal life with God through Jesus. They just didn't know it.
In the story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand in the Gospel of John, the five loaves and two fish were completely insufficient in the hands of the young boy who brought them, but when they were turned over to Jesus, they became something much more.
May we live our lives today filled with the realization of God's presence in the world and in everyone we meet. May we fulfill our purpose as followers of Jesus to be lights that enable others to see God and to see themselves as God sees them. And may the grace and peace of Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.