Friday, April 6, 2018
The Image of God and the Emmaus Road
For me, at least, the week after Easter has tended to be a kind of torpor, after the spiritual banquet of the Triduum a time for digestion seems essential. Of course one has followed this path many times, but each year brings its own particular discoveries, as if there is so much to be learned and re-learned. Of course there is! I merely paddle in the shallows!
In the sermon at Evensong on Easter night I was diverted by the question of the appearance of Christ and how it was that he was unrecognised.
Earlier that week there had been a meeting where an issues we discussed led to comments on our theological anthropology and how that might influence our understanding and behaviour on same gender issues related to marriage and to ordination. I reminded those present of the foundation for theological anthropology, the understanding that we are made in 'the image of God'. Someone else observed that while we may affirm the 'imago dei', we may not recognise the same set of implications.
In the imago dei I argue is the foundation for our missiology and our understanding of human rights. The imago dei reminds us of who we are and of our calling. As I understand it, the divine imago is, despite 'sin', defaced but not destroyed, and so remains the ground of our hope amidst the human condition. It is the constant free sign of God's grace with us; it is not anything earned or confirmed by 'approved' behaviours, conduct or compliance.
As our church's General Synod prepares to determine Motion, 29, (a proposal for a mechanism by which our church can stay together, agreeing on how to disagree) I keep returning to our understanding of the image of God and (as on the Emmaus Road) to wonder whether the imago dei enables a multitude of possibilities in the resurrection appearances while also allowing for specific and particular details such as wounds of the crucifixion.