Thursday, September 24, 2015

Thoughtful About . . . the Colors of God

What does it mean to be made in the image of God?

This is a thought that's floated to the surface of my mind several times in the last month or so. I look at all the racial tensions . . . I look at all the unrest in the world . . . I look at all the gender issues . . . I look at all the sexual orientation topics . . . I look at all the religions . . .

And it begs the question: how can a species so very diverse, so very discordant, so very dissimilar be made, as a whole, in the image of God?

And then the answer sneaks its way into my heart. Quietly, stealthily, like mist over the mountain.

When God created humanity, He created us with burgeoning potential. In the DNA of those first people was stored the potential for every color of skin. For every variation of hair. For every size, every weight, every look. Beauty and ugliness. Generosity and stinginess. We have the potential for greatness, and for failure.

Some parts of our lives are choices, governed by free will. This is where sin comes in, and that's a rainbow of topics for another post.

But other parts we're born with, and--up until modern history, anyway--that means we're stuck with it. This is where my attention is fixed just now. The rainbow over which we have very little say.

So often we say, "God doesn't see the outside, only the in." There's truth in that . . . and there's lie. God does see the outside. He created it, after all. When I look at my children, I see their hair, their eyes, the shapes of their noses. It's silly to say God doesn't. It's silly, even, to say, "Fine, He sees it, it just doesn't matter."

It does matter. He chose it for us. He chose to make each of us who we are. But here's the thing. He sees it as beautiful.

God loves that rich brown skin He mixed with Heaven's pallet. He loves that bright blond hair that catches the sunlight. He loves the way this group tends toward shorter frames, and the way that one stretches upward and upward. God not only sees the beautiful in each trait, He fashioned us just so. He chose those particular traits for each of us.

When I look at my kids, I see their differences. I see their similarities. And I love it all. I adore Rowyn's dimples. Xoe's bright blue eyes. I wonder what color their hair will end up, and I know it'll be lovely. I delight in how tall my little girl is, how short my son still is. I find it infinitely amusing how one of them will curl up in my lap at every opportunity and the other thinks "hugging" is a one-way activity in which one need only stand there passively. They are different. And they are the same.

We are all different. And we are all the same.

What is the color of God? Black, white, brown, red? Being incorporeal, the answer is, "None of these." He is, in a way, like pure light.

Us? We're darkness. Every time I hear one people group claiming that they matter more than their neighbors, their rivals, their former-oppressors, their enemies, their friends, their allies . . . something inside me just weeps. We take our differences and we glory in them. Or we hate them. We say they don't matter. Or we say they're the most important thing.

We miss the point.

Our differences are. And they are beautiful.

Our differences are. But they're not all.

What is the color of God? Is He black, white, brown, or red? He is none of these. But He is more than that.

He is all of these.  God is, in a way, like pure light. Containing every color, even those beyond what our eyes can see.

And I just pray I can see through His eyes. Not beyond our races or genders. Including them. Because difference is a part of us. And that's an amazing thing.

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