Image Credit: Rebekah Breusehoff

“God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness.” Genesis 1:27

The act of creation contained a limitless collection of gifts but perhaps the most consequential is the recognition that in our own created beings, God’s very self is revealed.  But it takes all of humankind, each one of us in our uniqueness, to capture the full spectrum of God’s “likeness.”  To limit our imagination about God to any one particular expression would be to deny something essential about the beauty of the world God has created and placed us within.

Theologians calls this the Imago Dei and embracing this essential created reality compels humankind to respond with specific intentions.  If we love God, then we must also love other humans as expressions of God.  If we look at our neighbor and don’t see God, we’re falling short of the promise of creation.

In my sermon yesterday I shared the story of Rebekah Breusehoff, the daughter of a Lutheran Pastor, who loves to wear pink, play field hockey, and hang out with her friends.  Along with her mother Jamie, Rebekah was one of the invited speakers at the 2018 National Youth Gathering (watch her speech here).   To say this 11-year-old girl captivated the audience of 30,000 would be an understatement.  Her message was a powerful witness to the tenets of Imago Dei we each are called to live by, enabling all of creation to thrive.

“I hope the church can be a place where everyone can bravely be themselves, in all their uniqueness, to be safe and loved.”

Rebekah Breusehoff

Through the love and support of her family, her friends, and her church, Rebekah has come to know herself better than most of us could hope.  The love and joy exuding from the core of her being stand mightily in defiance against the misconceptions born of fear that are gaining traction in statehouses around the country.  Rebekah’s witness has even inspired a Marvel comic, elevating her to the superhero status she so deserves. (Watch the video below to learn more about Rebekah and her family.)

The recent actions in Texas to criminalize trans youth, their parents, and caregivers are nothing less than a hateful assault on the Imago Dei.  That proponents of these laws would claim otherwise is a limiting of God’s activity in the world, directly counter to the divine command to love God and love neighbor.  As people of faith, how might we follow Rebekah’s lead, proudly trusting that we can only see God’s fullest self when we love and accept God embodied in one another?  I pray we will.

May God’s peace come to you this day.  -Pastor Peter

Let us pray…

Loving Creator, Let the rain come and wash away the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds held and nurtured over generations. Let the rain wash away the memory of the heart, and neglect. Then Oh God, let the sun come out and fill the sky with beautiful rainbows.

Let the warmth of the Sun heal us wherever we are broken. Let It burn away the fog so that each of us sees each other clearly. So that we can move beyond labels, beyond accents, gender, sexual orientation, or skin color. Let the warmth and brightness of the sun melt our selfishness. So that we can share the joy and sorrow of our neighbors. And let the light of the sun be so strong that we will see all people as our neighbors.

Let the Earth, nourished by rain, bring forth flowers to surround us with your beauty, and let the mountains teach our hearts to reach upward to heaven. Then, Dear God, grant us comfort, give us peace, and allow us strength to enable us to Stand up, Fight for, and be a Voice for Equality. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

-Rev. Debra J. Hopkins, Black trans woman, Minister at Sacred Souls Community Church in Charlotte, NC