April 19, 2012

Chaplain’s Corner: “Is Image Everything?”

LT Greg Woodard
Station Chaplain

We live in a world where “image is everything.” Every shiny magazine cover, store, and television program proclaims the message that how you look, what you own, where you live, what you wear, or what you drive, determiners of worth.

None of us want to be superficial, but honestly, it is hard not to allow these external influences to become the lens through which we assign value to ourselves. How many times do we size people up with our faulty filters in order to form our vision of the worth of other people?

In the Hebrew Scriptures, there is a story told of a man named David who had risen from impoverished beginnings as a shepherd boy to become the most powerful head of the Kingdom of Israel. If anyone knew about chasing external things, it was David. He had risen to the pinnacle of power and had defined his image by the level of his success.

In my faith tradition, image is defined in very different terms than it is in popular society. This image has nothing to do with external influences and everything to do with internal.

Why do we spend so much energy tending to the superficialities and so little time tending to our souls? Why do we spend so much time tending to our resumes and so little time tending to our spiritual life?

All people are created as masterpieces: the unborn child, the man in prison, the old veteran sitting alone in the nursing home, the young person who has almost given up on life, or the discouraged or despairing person reading this message. God sees into your eyes and mine. The light he finds there is more luminous than the moon and the stars. However faded or distorted it may be, this sparkle is our spiritual value; it is our relational vision; it is our creative vocation. It is what makes us most like the perfect image of God.

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