What Makes You Beautiful?
By David Calhoun
What makes you beautiful? The imago dei does.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. -- Genesis 1:27
The image of God (imago dei) exists in everyone and endures from womb to tomb. It never fades because of the phase of life we are in or where we are from. Because of the imago dei, we all possess incredible beauty and value. Yet, despite our God given beauty, creation groans under the weight of our failures to uphold the imago dei in our world.
This week, in our Leadership, Vocation, and Society class, Dr. Irwyn Ince used this, “from womb to tomb” idea to challenge our understanding of the imago dei. With a litany of scripture references by his side, Dr. Ince impressed upon us that to uphold the image of God is to actively support the inherent dignity of humans in all places and phases of life.
Moreover, Dr. Ince reminded us that Christ is uniting all things in Him (Ephesians 1:10) with the promise of every tribe, tongue, and nation worshiping the Lamb (Revelation 7:9) an incredibly hopeful image we can look to.
After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands -- Revelation 7:9
We are all image bearers, can see that Christ is victorious over sin and death, and know that the unity of all image bearers in Christ will come. Yet, we are often forced to reckon with societies and personal relationships that do not uphold the imago dei and do not point to the coming unity of humanity. We are surrounded by disdain, discord, and disunity.
How should we respond to the daily degradations of God’s image in society and our own lives?
I will not pretend to know the answer to the numerous ways we see the imago dei degraded but will simply do what Christians have done for millennia, and what John Kyle, the director fo Capital Fellows, did for us at roundtable this week, point to the love of Christ.
With love, is how Christ showed compassion on the hungry crowds. With love, is how He broke bread with the outcasts. With love, is how He healed the suffering, wept with the brokenhearted, and suffered for all image bearers. He showed us what love looks like, called us to love like Him (John 13:34-35), and gave us the Holy Spirit so that we might struggle with hope (John 14:26).
When I reflect on these truths, my failure to love like Christ becomes apparent. At times I lament the failures of society to uphold the imago dei from “womb to tomb” but, in light of Christ’s perfect love, I see that my own jealousy, selfishness, sloth, anger etc. diminish the imago dei in others. I am a participant in the degradation of the imago dei in the world but, as John Kyle said this week, “in Christ we have everything we need to answer the call to love.” Through Christ I am forgiven, see perfect love, and receive the ultimate Helper, the Holy Spirit. So, while my love will not be perfect until the final restoration, in Christ I have hope and a means to answer the call to love in the midst of this broken world.
Greetings from Capital Fellows Season 14 and, by the grace of God, may we uphold the imago dei by loving others as He first loved us.
Pictures from the Week
The Capital Fellows worship team getting fired up!
The Fairfax crew sampling some legit Pad Thai
NOTE: Capital Pres Family is a multisite church that includes McLean Presbyterian and Capital Pres Fairfax. Fellows are assigned to both sites for worship and service.
Some fellows adjacent to one of our favorite spot to congregate, Mosaic
Become A Capital Fellow in 2021-22
We are now receiving applications for Season 15 of the Capital Fellows program!
The next program year runs from late August 2021 through mid-May 2022. If you are a college senior or recent college graduate, we would love to hear from you! If you know someone that should consider being a fellow, please send them our way.
Click here for the Capital Fellows program application.
Pray for the Capital Fellows
Thank you for praying for the Capital Fellows each week! As we enter October, fellows often feel the weight of post-college life - longer work days, more fixed commitments, new and different expectations. These changes are not unique to the fellows program, but to post-college life in general. Please pray for the fellows as they make this transition and as they establish good, healthy, life-long patterns of work and rest.
Want to pray for the Capital Fellows throughout the year? Download this handy prayer guide for your phone or tablet.
Benefits of The Fellows Initiative
You probably already know that Capital Fellows is one of 30 fellows programs in The Fellows Initiative network. But, did you know that the sponsors of TFI offer great benefits to Capital Fellows alumni? For example, Reformed Theological Seminary offers a 33% tuition discount for 5 years. You can learn more about TFI's sponsors by clicking here.
If you know of a graduate school, seminary, employer, or other organization that would be interested in becoming a sponsor, please contact TFI by clicking here. Thanks!
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