Anderson, Joshua, Jaylin

by DanWolgemuth on March 5, 2021

Names. Families. Community.

Deep links to our Youth For Christ mission in Northern Indiana.

Two 19-year-olds. Gone. Defenselessly murdered. The other, Jaylin, critically wounded.

As I listened to the story through another Zoom update… my heart ached. But then, an unexpected jolt. Pictures. The beautiful faces. Names and a tragic story giving way to an image.

It was early in the 1900’s that the phrase, “A picture paints a thousand words”,  came to be.

We get it. I experienced it. We have all experienced this over the last difficult year. Pictures. Video tape. The real-time journal entries of evil, and brokenness, and pain, and suffering, and sorrow, and confusion, and relief, and joy…

But, in reality, a picture paints far fewer than a thousand words. In fact, it paints the two most significant and compelling words to describe the human race. Two words. That’s all.

Imago Dei.

Latin and loaded. Image bearers. Yes, image of God bearers.

Two Latin words that should inform every interaction, every conversation, every push toward justice, every avenue for peace, every dispute we engage in, every verdict we render, every tear we shed.

Three young black men in Fort Wayne, Indiana… not a headline, but image bearers. A masterpiece. Profoundly and uniquely crafted by the picture maker of all picture makers. His image in millions of portraits. His singular design, brought to life in a collage of color and contours.

Not some, but all. Not a few, but every.

And when God stepped back from His creative work… He whispered to Himself… “Very good”. His crowning achievement.

This is why we fight for every human life. This is why we speak up for the vulnerable. This is why we defend the defenseless. This is why we rail against injustice. This is why we invite scrutiny and self-examination. This is why even a secular culture recoils over sexual abuse, and harassment, and exploitation of any kind… because at the core we know, we are His design. His image.

This is why we can’t remain silent. This is why we weep over the loss of human life. This is why God didn’t spare His own son. Our Savior. Our Redeemer.

He sent Jesus to reclaim His finest creation.

It was C. S. Lewis in Weight of Glory who wrote… “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations – these are mortal.”

A picture. An image.

The Imago Dei.

Anderson. Joshua. Jaylin.

There is no higher calling. There is no more significant stewardship. A human life. A sacred trust.

No wonder this breaks the heart of God.

I can’t help wonder what would happen if before every and any interaction I had, I reminded myself that I am interacting with an Imago Dei. Every time. Any time.

A political agenda or platform doesn’t propel me. Even a Constitution doesn’t fuel me.

No, God Himself compels me. He compels us.

Lord have mercy.

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