God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness. . . .” — Genesis 1:26
Where do we begin the story of the church? Bible teachers have wrestled with that question for centuries. Volumes have been written in attempts to provide an answer.
This month Christians will commemorate Ascension Day and Pentecost as key dates in the development of the early church. In some ways, we can look at those events as “beginning” dates of the church, but then we would miss some of the other beginnings that help us understand the ministry of Jesus as well as those special days.
I believe we can best understand the church by remembering God’s original design. From the beginning of creation, God was linking himself to us and our world. God was making room for us. He was preparing in all his creativity a setting by which people, made in his image, could work, play, worship, and rest in his presence.
When we know God’s original design for this world, we have a deeper understanding that the church is part of his renewal of all things by developing a community in which God wants to show what real love looks like.
Though all of us human beings “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23), we have been made in his image for God’s purposes, and he will never let us go.
Dear God, may we be encouraged to remember that we and all other persons are so precious to you that you sent your Son to save us. Keep us close, we pray, by the power of your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.