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Image of God: Unity and Diversity

Rev. Stephen Handy shares insight on being made in God's image, and the implications it carries for how we related to one another. In this third part of the four-part series, Pastor Stephen discusses what it means that, although we are different across humanity, we still all carry the same image of God within us.

Image of God with Rev. Stephen Handy


One of my favorite places to eat ice cream is Baskin-Robbins. Although I’ve never tasted all 31 flavors, I tried many and now have expanded my taste for more types of ice cream. Sometimes I wish the world in general and the church in particular reflected a collective cohesion around God’s created diversity. Our diversity and doing life together are gifts to each of us.

None of humanity was designed, formed and shaped to be the same. Although we were created for oneness, this doesn’t mean our oneness in Jesus Christ was meant to be considered the same. The view of humanity starts with our distortion of God. Who and what is God? Remember God is colorless, unless you create a colonized God who reflects one particular gender, color and race.

Unfortunately instead of viewing God as a God who creates and loves diversity, inclusiveness and building solidarity, there is this image of God as restrictive and one who favors one group over another. That’s more of a colonized indoctrination as opposed to a liberated sense of being created or made in the mage of God

Recently we acknowledged the total massacre of the black side of the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma. The Tulsa race massacre (also called the Tulsa race riot, the Greenwood Massacre, the Black Wall Street Massacre, or the Tulsa Massacre) took place on May 31 and June 1, 1921. For two days, mobs of white residents, most of them deputized and given weapons by city officials, attacked black residents and businesses of the Greenwood District in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It has been called "the single worst incident of racial violence in American history." The attack, carried out on the ground and from private aircraft, destroyed more than 35 square blocks of the district—at that time the wealthiest black community in the United States, known as "Black Wall Street".

More than 800 people were admitted to hospitals and as many as 6,000 black residents were interned in large facilities, many of them for several days. It is estimated that 75–300 died during that two-day massacre.

While that is part of American history, I remain convinced that everyone is redeemable because everyone is created in the image of God. God designed us to be part of the beloved and cooperative community. Jesus in John 17:21-23 (New Living Translation) reminds me of this hope  21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. 22 I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” Genetically we are 99% the same, the 1% has been designed for our distinctiveness but also our oneness in the body of Christ!

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