Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”
~ Genesis 1:26
Years ago the author James McBride wrote the book, "The Color of Water: A Black Man's Tribute to His White Mother." It is filled with both the tragedies of racism and the struggles of his mother who grew up white, the daughter of a Rabbi, who fell in love with a black man, became pregnant, left her family, converted to Christianity and raised her family in Harlem. James shares of her struggles, but also his struggle to understand the white Jesus he so often saw in church, and how his mother taught him that God is simply the "color of water."
I have shared that with others throughout my own life, especially when my nephew, also of mixed race, asked me at the age of three when his skin would turn white.
Telling a three-year-old of their worth, and just how special God had created him to be was not something he wanted to know. He wanted to know why he was different, and when he would look like all the "other people," in our family, and later, often the image he saw of Jesus hanging in church.
This morning I am reminded as I study droplets of water on the lilies after last night's rain, that the color of water is easy to relate to, as it reflects whatever it is clinging to at the time. It is the reflection of the sky above, or the green meadow, or the granite face of a mountain overlooking a lake. God clings to us, and the image belongs to the Creator who fashioned us from dust, making us in an image that was declared as "good."
No where does salvation require us to mark, "Race."
We are forced to embrace a color in order to exist in a world that places value and privilege upon the ability to meet some standard that then classifies and separates us from one another, when God is proclaiming that we are ALL God's own.
I wonder if the water realizes it's ability to teach us about God and God's image?
The image of God is a tapestry woven from strands of many colors and people. It is not meant to be a thing that divides us, but rather demonstrates the ability of God to do many things, and to be many things to all people. It is the reminder to us that God will go to great lengths to be in relationship with us, and to remind us that we must look beyond the color of our skin, and into the hearts of humanity.
It is in that reflection that we discover God living among each of us.
Stay in God's grip!
G. Todd Williams (c) 2019
Rev. G. Todd Williams lives in the Houston metro area and is a Hospice Chaplain at Essential Hospice, Webster, Texas, and is an ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) pastor.