Preparing for cafe church on issues of life and death - namely abortion and euthanasia - I have been struck afresh by the wonder of the thought that humans are made in the image of God.
We often think this has to do with some attribute - like personality, reason, emotions, language. And it maybe does include all those things and more.
But commentators seem to agree that the key to this is relationship. God, a trinity eternally existing in a love relationship in him/herself, creates beings also able to relate to each other and to him/her (I use both pronouns because the image of God consists in the man and the woman together (Gen 1:27).
There is much stress in our culture on autonomous individuals having the power of choice over their own lives and destinies. I wonder if this is at the root of the epidemic of loneliness and broken relationships. We are alone in our choices, isolated in a world where we have to stay on our toes just to survive. In space no one can hear you scream, said the tag line for Alien. The same is true in our neighbourhoods.
Genesis stresses that we are beings made for relationships, people intended to make choices out of those relationships, knowing the support of family, friends, colleagues; including them in the decisions we make about our lives so we benefit from their wisdom and experience; recognising that our decisions effect others for good or ill.
I think, too, that God's image lies in us taking responsibility for our calling. After all, God gave us the task of managing his world. And I wonder if it's also seen in us working for redemption. Again, following the Fall, God didn't give up on us. Instead he immediately set in motion a plan to redeem and restore his creation and the people he created to be at the centre of it. So to reflect something of God, we too will be people who do not give up on 'lost causes', but rather work for redemption, believing that in the power of God, guided by his agenda for the planet, we can make a contribution to ensuring that all people enjoy the fullness of life God wants for all.
I'm looking forward to cafe church on Sunday; I hope it proves to be life-affirming. I hope it also encourages all of us to live up to our image.