Serving the Image of God

Our church hosted a temporary shelter program for families experiencing homelessness a couple weeks ago. We shared simple moments with the families: waiting for dinner to arrive, cleaning up the kitchen, coloring with the children. These are the mundane moments of day-to-day life . . . and yet our families have been through a lot to get there.

As the Sunday morning sermons focus on Genesis, I catch myself thinking a lot about the mystery that God created people in His image. Christians believe that regardless of what a person has done and regardless of what has been done to a person, each one is stamped with the image of God. Each person is capable of reflecting qualities seen more fully in God: kindness, mercy, generosity, love, and faithfulness.

For that reason, showing kindness to others takes on a dimension beyond the mundane. Acts of mercy are acts of worship as sacred as the best hymns or spiritual songs.

In all honesty, it can be a discipline to look for God’s image in others. If you are human, you probably share with me a tendency toward reflexive criticism. But freedom comes in the incredible truth that people do not earn God’s image. People don’t need to earn my service.

I once again found myself at the end of the shelter week grateful for the opportunity to share mundane moments with (very much not mundane) people.

“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


Sarah Bartley leads our church’s ministry with Family Promise, an inter-denominational hospitality network that extends care to families experiencing homelessness. Read more about Family Promise on the North Shore.