A Prayer and a Plea

I am an image bearer of God. So are you.

The grocery worker standing for hours behind plexiglass so we can have bananas on our oatmeal every morning bears God’s imprint. So does the elderly gentleman waving to his daughter through a nursing room window.

Those strapped to hospital beds, with endotracheal tubes snaking down their windpipes and a fog of sedation clouding their minds, also love, and dream, and have intrinsic worth because they reflect our Creator. The coronavirus froths in the lungs of so many of them, because while the world told us to hunker down and quarantine, they still had to work to feed their families. While officials told us to self-isolate, they still had to lay on hands to help a child, a grandmother, an ailing father in a cramped home.

George Floyd was an image bearer. He cried out, because the King of the Universe gifted him with breath too precious to lose. His life mattered. It was stolen from him by those who didn’t see the spark of the Divine ablaze within him.

Those grieving, those protesting, those crying out for justice are image bearers. The tears flow hotly, the voices boom, because for far too long we have denied the God-given value of all brothers and sisters.

Those whose storefronts now lay in ruins, the picture windows reduced to rubble by hurled rocks, are also image bearers, whose lives the angry have demolished with their projectiles.

We all have blood on our hands. The blood of those we’ve neglected and shunned, subjugated, and reduced to less than. And the blood of the One who gave His life for all our sins, who cleanses us before the throne, so we might come before the Lord whose image we bear so haughtily.

Through Christ, we are forgiven. Through Christ, the sin that now seethes rampant across the globe has already been conquered. Thanks be to God, by His wounds we are healed.

But that forgiveness, that healing, came at such a grave price. Far be it from us to cheapen it.

One day, when Christ returns, all His people, of all ethnicities, speaking all languages, will join in praise of His name. In the meantime, He calls us to compassion for the poor, the downtrodden, and the afflicted, recognizing that all are made in God’s image. That all matter.

He commands this: “Love one another. Just as I have loved you, so also you must love one another.” (John 13:34-35)

And this: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31)

George Floyd was a neighbor.

Those fighting the coronavirus, whether in scrubs or in hospital beds, are neighbors. So are those mourning those whom the virus has claimed.

Those who daily fear for their children because of the color of their skin are our neighbors.

Those who daily fear how to provide the next meal for their families are our neighbors.

So are the grieving, the downcast, the isolated, the ostracized. So are the hurting. So are the ignored, the forgotten, the vulnerable. So are the sick and the dying.

I am a neighbor. So are you.

Love one another, as He has loved us.

And pray without ceasing.

Father God, we know you are greater than the sin that strangles the world right now. We know your sovereign hand covers us all. We also know that the travesties against our brothers and sisters, the afflictions of the poor and the dying, and our failure to love others as you have loved us, grieve you. Have mercy, dear Father, upon us all. Work your Holy Spirit within us, so we might flee from hatred, and love and protect our neighbors. Mold us into the image of your Son. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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