God Breaks a Commandment?
The great 20th century rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel used to tease listeners with this question: “When did God break one of the Ten Commandments?” His answer: when God created human beings because they are created in the image of God while the commandments forbid making an image of God! As I think more about his tease, the more sense the commandment not to make a graven image makes to me. The only picture of God which God wants out in the world is the one in human beings. It is up to us, not to the sculptor, to show the world what God is like. Now I wonder if the coming of Jesus is at least in a small way an indictment of our failure to picture God for the world. Thankfully the word “Christian” means “little Christ” so our basic job description hasn’t really changed as followers of Jesus- show the world what God looks like by reflecting Christ.
The same rabbi would warn people of faith about “spiritual plagiarism.” We cannot have exactly the same faith as our grandparents. We have to be authentically ourselves in following God. This also makes sense to me in a new way. Our God is so vast and wonderful that none of us alone can fully reflect God’s beauty. So it requires each of us living authentic lives of faith to show our world a more complete picture of our Lord. As we live faithfully the life God has uniquely given us, the world sees more of God’s greatness.
So go on. Be your true authentic self in Christ. Do it for you. Do it for your world.