Advent Day 14: Party

Advent Day 14

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
   the moon and the stars that you have established;
what are human beings that you are mindful of them,
   mortals that you care for them?
Yet you have made them a little lower than God,
   and crowned them with glory and honour.   (Psalm 8:3-5)

Once I heard about a youth director who never called any teenager by name during youth events.  Instead, she called each of the youth “Image of God.”  Her purpose, from what I heard, was to catch the students’ attention when she had to correct those who were acting innapropriately.  “Image of God,” she thought, would remind them that they were loved and called to a higher standard.

I smiled when I heard that story, remembering my own youth group days.  Who knows if it would have helped for our minister to call each of us “Image of God.”  We were always pumped full of sugar at youth events, especially during Sunday School, when there were sodas and doughnuts in the room each week! 

Today I want to highlight two spiritual disciplines, and an idea to try.  The disciplines are hospitality and self-control.  There is a long tradition in Scripture of welcoming strangers as well as friends, imitating how God welcomes us.  And of course there are plenty of verses in Scripture about controlling what you eat, drink, et cetera.

And here’s the idea.  Next time you are getting together with friends, think “image of God” as you plan what to do.  No, I don’t mean sit around and memorize Bible verses.  What I do mean is, try to throw a quality party.  Have good food, enough chairs, introduce your guests to one another, and have some conversation starters in your back pocket.  If you are short on cash, bring other people in as hosts!  Most people I know who are in their 20s and 30s love a chance to meet new people somewhere besides a bar.  And that’s part of the whole image of God thing:  honoring people’s bodies, developing friendships, and serving others.

In Genesis, we read about how Abraham threw a nice dinner party for some strangers, whom some interpreters regard to be angels (see Genesis 18.)  Who knows what might happen if you threw some “image of God” parties? 

Today’s daily Scripture reading from the PC(USA):

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