January 1, 2021
Scripture Reading: Psalm 148, Genesis 1-2, Ephesians 1
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Happy New Year! My prayer is that we grow closer to God and closer together in 2021.
Today’s devotion is centered on creation. Opening in Psalm 148, we see creation celebrating its Creator. All praise is given to God, the creator of the Heavens and the Earth.
We then turn to Genesis 1 and 2, where we recount, once again, the familiar passage of God’s creative work over the 6 days, and the 7th day of rest. There is, of course, a treasure trove of information on Genesis 1 and 2. We could speak at length in regards to creation, whether it is created in a literal 7 days, or if it is simply metaphorical. We can go down several trails investigating creation and Creator. But at its most basic level, Genesis 1 and 2 functions as a argument for the mighty power of God. This God, created the heavens and the earth. He is forming and filling the creation. He also creates humankind in His image. These three things, forming, filling and image bearing, become increasingly important as we navigate every day life.
All people are created in the image of God. All of our ethics, what is right and wrong, in how we treat one another, it all comes from understanding that we are all image bearers of God. I’m not going to mistreat someone (or at least I’m going to do my best to avoid it!) because they are created in God’s image.
God isn’t reduced to idols, because his image is reflected in humankind. It is difficult to fully understand, but it is also quite simple. The way I treat others, is how I treat God. The golden rule, of loving others and loving God, fit together perfectly. How I treat one, is how I treat God.
Ephesians 1 brings us back to the theme of creation and forming and filling as well. This time, it is identifying that God is at work in forming and filling something completely new. A people who reflect His wisdom and goodness in the world. He forms the church. He resurrects Christ from the dead. This power that was at work in the creation of everything, was at work in the new life of raising Christ from the dead, and it also at work in forming and the church. “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:22-23)
God forms his church, to be the image of Christ in the world, to offer our praise and glory to God (Psalm 148), to fill the earth with Christ image and love.
God forms us together to be the image bearers of Christ.
The natural response to this is to see the importance of loving God, and loving others.
The challenge and encouragement today is to praise our Creator, by loving all that He created. Who is someone to love today? Someone who you have had a difficult time seeing as an image bearer of God? Go, be kind, loving and gracious. Worship God, by loving your neighbor.
God be with you.
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.