On This Day: A Sermon on Genesis 1: 1-2:4 and Psalm 8

At St. Martin’s Hospitality Center,  we start every service with these words:  “This is the day that the Lord has made.  Let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Today is Fathers Day, a day we remember our fathers, our forebearers and the part they have played in making us who we are.

Today is also Juneteenth—the day people throughout our country celebrate the end of slavery, the day word of emancipation finally reached Texas.  Juneteenth—it’s a day when families of the African diaspora come together to remember who they are and where they came from.

Today is Trinity Sunday— Today we stand on the threshold of a time in the church year when we focus on discipleship, when we focus on following Jesus, when we focus on living into the people God created us to be.

How fitting that the psalm for today is one of awe and praise and gratitude.

When I look up at the heavens,

at the work of Love’s creation,

at the infinite variety of your Plan,

What is woman that You rejoice in her,

And man that You do delight in him?

You have made us in your image,

You fill us with your Love….1

“You have made us in your image”—words that echo the very first words of our sacred story.  On the sixth day of creation, after God has set the stage, God says, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness….”  So God created humankind in God’s image.  Male and female God created them.  God blessed them and shared with them dominion over all of God’s creation.

Think of it—you and I and every human who has ever walked on this earth are made in God’s image, created according to God’s likeness.  As my students used to say, “That’s big; that’s real big.”

It makes me wonder, “Just who is this God in whose image we have been made?”  “Just what is this image we bear, this likeness we share?”

I don’t think any one can ever fully answer those questions.  The totality of God is more than mere mortals can ever imagine.  A mystery beyond our ken.  A visage grasped through psalms and songs, icons and metaphors, shadows here, light there.

Yet still we ask, “Who is the One in whose image we are made?  What is the likeness we share?”  Scripture points the way to an answer.

Hear the voice of the prophet we meet in Second Isaiah:

“Have you not known?  Have you not heard?

The Lord is the everlasting God,

The Creator of the ends of the earth.

He does not faint or grow weary;

His understanding is unsearchable.

He gives power to the faint,

And strengthens the powerless….”

You and I, we are made in the image of the God of the Psalms, the God who brings us out into an open place, the God who rescues us, the God who delights in us.

You and I, we are made in the image of the God of Justice, the God of Righteousness, the God of Peace.

The God of Possibility.

I used to think that a sure-fire way of figuring out who is the One in whose image we are made was to look around at folks made in that image.  A way of working back from the created to the creator.  But now I’m not so sure.

I’m beginning to wonder if we don’t get a better handle on who we might be if we look at the One in whose image we are made.  If we remember the possibilities God calls us to, the work God invites to share.

In the words of our psalmist,

“You have made us in your image,

You fill us with your Love;

You have made us co-creators of the earth!

guardians of the planet!

to care for all your creatures,

to tend the land, the sea,

and the air we breathe;

all that You have made,

You have placed in our hands.”2

Think of it—God invites us to live with wonder and awe; God invites us to live with tenderness and care—for one another and for all of God’s creation.

On this day, on this day that the Lord has made, on this day that we remember and give thanks for those who have gone before us, on this day when we celebrate the end of slavery in our land, on this day that we stand on the threshold of the ordinary season, we remember that we are made in God’s image and we are glad in it!

1 Nan Merrill, Psalms for Praying:  An Invitation to Wholeness, p. 10.

2 Ibid.

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