Each morning before General Synod gathers in Tucson, we’ll share a new prayer, devotional, or poem submitted by one of RfA’s board members, themed on the Fruits of the Spirit.
We also invite you to join us in praying for the delegates and members of the General Synod (the full list can be found here).
Today, we’re specifically holding those found on page 17 in prayer (these include one student delegate from Western Theological Seminary, representatives from the Church Growth Fund board and the Ministerial Formation Certification Agency, student delegates from Central and Northwestern Colleges, the President of Northwestern College, and the representatives of the General Synod Commissions which include RfA Executive Director Cameron).
Today’s reflection is themed on “faithfulness” and comes from board member Rev. Liz Estes.
Adapted from Chapter 4 of the report, “Affirmed + Celebrated: A Reformed Theology of Inclusion,” in the Appendix to Overture 2 of the 2021 General Synod Workbook.
“So, God created humankind in God’s own image, in the image of God God created them; male and female God created them (Gen. 1:27).”
Since we are all God’s image-bearers, none of us is more worthy in God’s eyes. For millennia this principle has been known by its Latin name, Imago Dei, Image of God. Imago Dei is as foundational to our faith as the equality of all human beings has become to our secular world. Like human equality, Imago Dei is not an edict or decree, but a guiding ethical principle, like a compass or a kind of North Star, that constantly challenges us to walk deeper and deeper into God’s heart. Imago Dei means the more we learn about ourselves, the more we learn about God. Today we are learning that God is male and female, transgender, intersex, heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, asexual, and queer.
If any of us are to have a faithful relationship with God, we must acknowledge that God’s plan for each of us is unlike God’s plan for any other person. Personal identity—in the diversity of ways it unfolds, including gender identity and expression, sexuality and sexual orientation—is revealed in an intimate relationship between each person and God. We find such intimate relationships in Biblical stories where God calls people of great faith out of their ordinary lives to take up an extraordinary role in God’s story of salvation. God calls Abram out of his father’s house in Chaldea, rebukes Sarah for her laughter, enflames Moses from a bush, confounds Hannah’s prayers in the temple, confronts Zechariah with his disbelief, and impregnates Mary with her mission to serve as the mother of humanity’s savior. These ancestors in faith experienced a holy fear or terror when God challenged their pre-conceived notions about themselves and called them to act in ways their own limited imaginations could not fathom. We know God because they trusted God. Their personal relationships with God form the foundation of our faith. Personal identity is the holy ground where each person encounters God.
Rev. Liz Estes