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Acting the part

Eugene Scott

In the cartoon “Foxtrot,” Jason, the intelligent and nerdy member of the Foxtrot family, complains to his father, saying, “Here’s what I don’t get. If God created man in his own image, how come we don’t also have godly powers?”His dad responds, “Are you familiar with the term ëinfinite wisdom?'”Is power what best defines God or anyone being like God? We often talk of God as a Higher Power or as some type of Force that if recognized or channeled can give us strength to change or overcome or survive or be at peace. Some of us in the Christian faith spend enormous energy focused on God’s miracles and power. These are not bad ways to think of God. Personally, I’ve cried out to God many times in order to tap into God’s higher power. The Bible often pictures God as almighty. But again, is power what best defines God or anyone being like God? Sometimes. Sometimes not. Unfortunately angry power is the picture of God some religions often present an unbelieving world. This God is one of terror and political control.But a God like that, one of force, or authority, cannot produce love. Relationships based on power don’t create intimacy but rather fear, anger, resentment, and, often an opposing force. How can one draw near to and love someone whose fists are filled with lightning bolts? Is that why God came to us so gently in the person of Jesus Christ? I believe it was. Christ’s time in history was every bit as filled with political corruption, pain, tragedy, poverty, and need as is our time. God could have corrected it all with one powerful swipe. Instead Jesus came as a poor Jewish baby. What is more powerless than a newborn? Imagine the surprise of those expecting a powerful king, warrior, or conqueror when they looked down on a pudgy-toed baby. Or later when Jesus pointed out that a child not a burly Roman soldier was the model for his kingdom. His focus on grace, mercy, and forgiveness as responses to the hardness of life must have confused some of them as much as it does some of us. God’s infinite wisdom dictated that in order to be in relationship with us power must submit to love. Forgiveness nullifies retribution. Giving, even Jesus’ precious life, trumps taking.In reality God may be best defined by how much he gives. The two highest Christian holidays, Easter and Christmas recognize that reality. Speaking of being created in God’s image “Foxtrot’s” Jason says, “It seems like a big tease to make us look like a bunch of gods, but not be able to act the part.” But maybe we “act the part” better than we think. If God submits his power to love and defines his interaction with us by giving rather than coercion and control, then every time we submit our need for control and power to love and give to someone else we are “acting the part.” Giving allows the image of God in each of us to flourish and grow. Each time we return from Christmas shopping laden with gifts we are giving like God. Maybe the answer to Jason’s question is that we do have godly power, the power to give and receive love.Eugene C. Scott is pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church. Their services meet on Sundays at 8 a.m. in the Beaver Creek Chapel and 11 a.m. in the Vail Interfaith Chapel. You can reach him at Eugene@connectcpc.com or 477-0383.Vail, Colorado


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