Login / Signup

Free Access

In God's Image

Illustration
Stories
Let us make people in our own image. Jessie narrowed her eyes and read Genesis 1:26 one more time. Let us make people in our own image. She shook her head and tried a third time, but the words still didn’t make any sense. There was only one God so why did it say “in our image”? She typed the verse in a search engine and read some of the explanations she found.

It seemed like everyone had a different answer. Some claimed it was the royal “we” that showed God was king. Jessie certainly believed that God was Lord and King over everything. But she had a feeling that there was more to the verse than just that.

Another commentator suggested that it was a way of referencing the Trinity so that God the Father was speaking to God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Jessie believed that God was in three persons and understood the Trinity as best as anyone could. But she had a feeling that explanation didn’t explain everything in the verse.

A third website said that the plural was just God talking to the angels and others in heaven. Jessie believed in heaven, but she thought that was probably the least likely explanation since the angels weren’t God. She was just about to see if there was another possible answer when the alarm on her cell phone went off. She grabbed her flute and headed off to the church for band practice.

Jessie was a few minutes late, so she didn’t have a chance to chat but simply sat next to Luke who smiled as they began going over the latest piece. Jessie was thankful that she had practiced her part at home so she was confident when they started to play. The piece was difficult in places and while she didn’t do it perfectly the first time the truth was that none of them did. Sheila was patient with them though and had a great ear and so she suggested tempo changes, heard where people were a bit off key, and she helped them pull it together.

During the break Luke split his donut with her. “That new piece is a killer.”

“It’s coming together.” Jessie took the offered donut gratefully. “You know the Bible reading for next Sunday from Genesis about God making everything in six days?”

“Yeah, I always read the scriptures to Gran when I visit mid week so that she knows what’s going to be read on Sunday. She likes to think and pray about the passages before the pastor preaches.” He tilted his head. “What about it?”

“I’m reading on Sunday and was going over it and came to the section that says, ‘let us make people in our image.’ What do you think that means?”

“I’ve never really thought about it.” Luke rubbed at his chin. “Did you check the web?”

Jessie nodded. “I did but nothing really seemed to answer it for me.”

“I guess it means that we are all made in the image of God.”

Jessie bit hit lip. “I get that everyone is made in the image of God. It just seems to me that there is something more to it that I’m missing.”

Luke shrugged and before Jessie could say anything else band practice started again. Sheila had them go over the difficult parts until the transitions and key changes came easily to them. Then she asked them to turn back to the first page and go through the whole song.

Jessie was anxious as the first notes were played but then as the song continued, she couldn’t help but be swept away in the music. All the different instruments combined to play something that was wonderful, mysterious, and moving all at the same time. She could almost hear the angels singing along with the melody and felt close to God as she played her part. When they finished there was silence for a few moments and Jessie knew she wasn’t the only one who had felt the Holy Spirit moving among them. Sheila thanked them and band practice finished.

“I was thinking about that verse from Genesis.” Luke paused at the door. “Did you ever think that it might mean that we’re made in the image of God?”

Jessie frowned. “I thought I said earlier that I already believed that each of us are made in the image of God.”

“That’s not what I mean.” Luke gestured at the musicians leaving. “The song we just played was wonderful and inspiring. It was beautiful on so many levels.”

“I agree.”

“I wonder if we, all of us together as a group, are made in the image of God. Yes, each of us are as individuals but when you put us together then we are something even greater, more like what God intends and what God created.” Luke shrugged his shoulders. “Something to think about.”

Jessie nodded and as she headed home, she still thought about the experience, his words, and the verse she had been struggling over. She wasn’t entirely sure if Luke’s explanation answered all her questions, but she knew for certainty that his words helped her better understand something important about God and faith.


*****************************************

StoryShare, June 7, 2020 issue.

Copyright 2020 by CSS Publishing Company, Inc., Lima, Ohio.

All rights reserved. Subscribers to the StoryShare service may print and use this material as it was intended in sermons, in worship and classroom settings, in brief devotions, in radio spots, and as newsletter fillers. No additional permission is required from the publisher for such use by subscribers only. Inquiries should be addressed to permissions@csspub.com or to Permissions, CSS Publishing Company, Inc., 5450 N. Dixie Highway, Lima, Ohio 45807.
UPCOMING WEEKS
In addition to the lectionary resources there are thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
Signup for FREE!
(No credit card needed.)
Easter 6
30 – Sermons
110+ – Illustrations / Stories
26 – Children's Sermons / Resources
20 – Worship Resources
25 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Ascension
25 – Sermons
160+ – Illustrations / Stories
22 – Children's Sermons / Resources
18 – Worship Resources
23 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Easter 7
30 – Sermons
160+ – Illustrations / Stories
27 – Children's Sermons / Resources
25 – Worship Resources
27 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Pentecost
29 – Sermons
140+ – Illustrations / Stories
27 – Children's Sermons / Resources
28 – Worship Resources
32 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Trinity Sunday
27 – Sermons
140+ – Illustrations / Stories
29 – Children's Sermons / Resources
29 – Worship Resources
30 – Commentary / Exegesis
4 – Pastor's Devotions
and more...
Plus thousands of non-lectionary, scripture based resources...
Signup for FREE!
(No credit card needed.)

New & Featured This Week

The Immediate Word

Thomas Willadsen
Dean Feldmeyer
Mary Austin
Christopher Keating
Katy Stenta
George Reed
Bethany Peerbolte
For May 9, 2021:
  • One Nation Under God? by Tom Willadsen — What would the United States look like if we truly were “one nation under God?” What would it be like to live in a place where everyone was treated as one who has been “born of God?”
  • Dying Is Easy by Dean Feldmeyer — Dying is easy; living the gospel is hard.

StoryShare

John E. Sumwalt
Frank Ramirez
Contents
“Waking Up to Racism” by John Sumwalt
“Twists and Turns” by Frank Ramirez

 
Waking Up to Racism
by John Sumwalt
Psalm 98

Let the floods clap their hands;
    let the hills sing together for joy
 at the presence of the Lord, for he is coming
    to judge the earth.
He will judge the world with righteousness,
    and the peoples with equity.
(vv. 8-9)

Emphasis Preaching Journal

David Kalas
In the mid-1960s, a popular song declared, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of.”1 It was an era of both national and international unrest. And the American landscape was reeling from the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement, and opposition to both. Amidst headlines so marked by unrest and division, therefore, the sentiment of the song struck a chord with an American audience. 
Bill Thomas
Mark Ellingsen
Frank Ramirez
Bonnie Bates
Acts 10:44-48
Prejudice is always wrong. Nat King Cole is a well-known artist who was the first African American to host his own national television program. In 1948, he purchased a beautiful home in an exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood. When the local neighborhood association confronted him and informed him it didn’t want any undesirables to move in, Cole responded, “Neither do I. If I see any coming in here, I’ll be the first to complain.” He lived in that house until his death in 1965.

CSSPlus

John Jamison
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” (vv. 9-12)

Hi, everyone! (Let them respond.)

The Village Shepherd

Janice B. Scott
Call to Worship:

Jesus gave up his life for us. In our worship today let us explore how to love one another as he has loved us.


Invitation to Confession:

Jesus, sometimes our love for each other is thin and pale.
Lord, have mercy.

Jesus, sometimes we pretend to love but fail to care.
Christ, have mercy.

Jesus, sometimes we don't know how to love.
Lord, have mercy.

SermonStudio

John E. Sumwalt
Jo Perry-sumwalt
One evening, when I was 26 years old, beleagered by guilt for acknowledged sins, I was deep into an hour-long prayer of repentance. In despair, I grieved that I had broken the commandments and that I was not worthy of God's love.

Near me lay the Bible, unused and unfamiliar. I had never, ever read from the Bible. Yet my hands reached out and took the Bible to open it. I knew not where, nor why. But my hands knew the way. They opened to John 15:9-11 and as my eyes began to read, my mind knew the meaning with clarity. My eyes read verse 10 first:
Mark Ellingsen
Theme of the Day
God's love brings us together.

Collect of the Day
It is noted that God has prepared great joy for those who love Him. Petitions are then offered that such love may be poured into the hearts of the faithful so that they may obtain these promises. Justification as a reward for our deeds (love) is communicated by this prayer.

Psalm of the Day
Psalm 98
Stan Purdum
(See Christmas Day, Cycles A and B, for alternative approaches.)

Richard E. Gribble
Once upon a time a great and powerful king ruled over a vast territory. There was something very strange about this kingdom, however -- everything was the same. The people ate the same food, drank the same drink, wore the same clothes, and lived in the same type of homes. The people even did all the same work. There was another oddity about this place. Everything was gray -- the food, the drink, the clothes, the houses; there were no other colors.

Special Occasion