Friday, July 28, 2017

Remember Who You Are

Last month Jordan Spieth captured his third major golf championship as he outlasted Matt Kuchar at the British Open.  It was an amazing finish for the 23-year-old Texan, but the very beginning of the tournament had an interesting twist as well – not for Spieth, but for former champion Rory McIlroy.

McIlroy came into the British Open on somewhat of a slump, performing poorly in four of his last five tournaments, and it looked like that trend would continue.  He bogeyed four of the first five holes creating serious doubts that he would be in contention for a second Open title. 

But what happened on the sixth tee may have helped turn things around.  His caddie said, “You’re Rory McIlroy, what are you doing?”    He reminded him that he was a four-time major champion.  He reminded him that he was a former #1 ranked golfer in the world.  It was time for him to start playing like it.  And McIlroy did.  He started acting like himself. After that dismal start, McIlroy went on to turn bogeys into birdies and, in the end, finished a very respectable fourth.

All that he needed was to be reminded of who he was.

The Bible begins with the wonderful story of how the world came into existence – “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”  He spoke and the universe came into being.  After that initial creation, Genesis focuses in on planet earth.  Skies and seas, sun and moon, birds and beasts all are spoken into being, and then God creates what he really had in mind from the beginning - man and woman.  And what’s unique about these humans is that they are created in the image of God.  In some mystical and spiritual way these two, and every other human since then, bear a resemblance to this good and powerful creator God. 

And all of us need to be reminded of that from time to time.  We are created in the image of God.

That’s who we are.  That’s who I am.  That’s who you are.

But there’s another narrative of our being that we hear all too often.  That other story tells us that we are here by accident.  That we are the product of random chance.  That we are no more than the molecules and atoms and DNA and other stuff that can be diagramed and seen and magnified.  That other narrative tells us that our morals, our beliefs, and our emotions are all evolutionary tactics that help us survive and deal with the fact that we are just stuff – nothing more than stuff.

Is that what we are?  Is that what I am?  Is that what you are?

If there’s any hope for us to turn things around, I doubt that narrative can do it.

But what about the Bible’s story?  What if we really are created in the image of God?  What if that is who we really are?

The Bible’s narrative of our being tells us that we are of great value, that we have a vast potential for goodness, that we have creative powers, that we are in a mystical and spiritual way like God.  Perhaps what we need is to be reminded of that from time to time.  We need to be reminded of who we really are - created in the image of God.

That’s who we are.  That’s who I am.  That’s who you are. 

And once we know that, we can start acting like it.