Friday, January 10, 2014

Created in His Image

This interesting jar containing a few handfuls of ash with its accompanying plaque sits on rough burlap in the deep windowsill of Mission Espada in San Antonio, Texas where we visited a few years ago.  The small, simple chapel has unadorned white-washed walls, wooden benches and a low, dark wood-beamed ceiling.  A matching jar sits across the chapel in another window and has an English translation of the plaque.  The eloquent message of these jars is what makes this chapel special to me.

If you understand Spanish you might be able to read this plaque.  For those of us who are not so fluent, here's the translation:  "Remember that you are dust and to dust you will return."  Hmm.... that's a rather sobering thought as we turn over a leaf in the calendar and begin a brand new year.  But rather than feel morbid about the idea, let's look at it in a positive light (I really prefer positive to negative, don't you?!).

Let's start at the beginning when God picked up a handful of dust and started His family on earth:  "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being" Genesis 2:8.  Have you ever considered how really, really amazing that is?  It's hard to get our minds around such an act -- almost as hard as comprehending how incredibly much He loves each and every one of us. 

Then there's the fact that He created us in His very image, with attributes and emotions and feelings similar to His own -- "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them" Genesis 1:27.  Of course, that doesn't mean we have His super powers or perfection or anything like that -- we are the finite being created by The Infinite Being for His good pleasure and glory, and for our joy in Him. 

Psalm 103 is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible (one of many!).  I love that God understands our frailty and longs to help us and protect us, as seen in verses 13-14:  "As a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear [or reverence] Him.  For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust."  In the margin of my Bible, I wrote PTL - Praise The Lord.

In Ecclesiastes 12:7, we are reminded of the words in the plaque above, "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it."  If we aren't part of the upcoming Rapture (which does appear to me that it will be sooner rather than later), then yes, indeed, our bodies will return to the dust from whence they originally came.  But, the really cool and marvelous thing is that our souls/spirits -- which are really our true selves -- won't remain with that crumbling body, but rather immediately zip into our wonderful home in heaven (that is if you have accepted Jesus as Saviour).  Paul writes, "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" 2 Corinthians 5:8.

I'm not worried about that jar of dust, nor that my body is fashioned from the dust of the earth.  It is my spirit that is the me that will continue -- the part of me that was created in the image of God.  When I close my eyes and lay aside the fact that I'm presently inside an earthly body, the me that is doing the thinking and pondering and feeling, that's the me that will continue to live on forever -- long after the dust has settled. 

Note:  I used this picture in an earlier blog on November 3, 2012 which contains the message of salvation.  If you're unsure about your eternal future, please check it out.

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