Grace and Peace to you
Probably the primary question that all religions and philosophies attempt to answer is: “Who are we?” Descartes famously said: “I think therefore I am” and placed human uniqueness in the realm of rationality. Every ideology or system is rooted in a particular understanding of the human person either explicitly or implicitly. Apartheid propagated an explicit understanding of the human person according to the colour of our skin. Capitalism propagates a more implicit understanding by relating to human persons as consumers or products whose worth is determined by the size of our bank accounts. Therefore while critiquing any social, political or economic system it is important to ask what is it saying about who we are.
Because of the primary nature of this question it is not surprising that the Bible deals with it in its first few chapters. Here are three things I understand about who we are from Genesis 1-3.
- All people are born in the image of God. Therefore we are each of infinite sacred and equal worth. This means that all systems and policies should seek to honour all people equally and in ways that appreciate, promote and protect everyone’s worth of being.
- God formed us from the dust. Therefore we are part of creation. We are not separate from creation. To appreciate, promote and protect creation and all life’s creatures is an extension of who we are.
- God took a rib from Adam (Adam in this instance means earth creature rather than male) and from that moment formed women and men. Therefore we are formed from each other. We are part of each other. We are not separate from each other. We are one. Oneness is our original form that we are called to honour and re-cover.
If this is who we are, the next question is how can we live more in tune with who we really are?
Beloved in Christ, let us again claim for ourselves this Covenant which God has made with God’s people, and take the yoke of Christ upon us.
To take Christ’s yoke upon us means that we are content that God appoint us our place and work, and that Jesus be our reward.
Christ has many services to be done; some are easy, others are difficult; some bring honour, others bring reproach; some are suitable to our natural inclinations and material interests, others are contrary to both. In some we may please Christ and please ourselves, in others we cannot please Christ except by denying ourselves. Yet the power to do all these things is given us in Christ, who strengthens us.
Let us give ourselves anew to God, trusting in God’s promises and relying on God’s grace. Today, we meet as the generations before us have met, to renew the covenant that binds us to God. Let us make this covenant of God our own:
I am no longer my own but yours, O God.
Put me to what you will, rank me with whom you will;
put me to doing, put me to suffering;
let me be employed for you, or laid aside for you,
exalted for you, or brought low for you;
let me be full, let me be empty,
let me have all things, let me have nothing:
I freely and wholeheartedly yield all things to your pleasure and disposal.
And now, glorious and blesse?d God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit,
you are mine and I am yours.
And the covenant now made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.