The instruction to “be imitators of God,” is a little daunting – both for individuals and for a church community. But what does that really mean? Does it mean to be flawless and pious? Perfect in every way? Always showing only an admirable face to the world? We are all human, and pristine behavior does not always come easily – or naturally. If we strive for something like our imagined version of perfection, is that not a set-up for failure, guilt and self-recrimination? Maybe that is not what imitating God means. Each of us is created in God’s image, even with our failings and “battle scars.” The Hebrew and Greek words rendered “perfect” in English really mean – mature, whole, truthful, complete in all parts, and my favorite that I shared on Sunday, “congruent.” When we are congruent, what people see on the outside matches who we really are on the inside. We live with integrity.
We are not God. We cannot match the transcendence, the presence, the knowing of God. But we can live with integrity. And we have a model for that in Jesus Christ who, though in the flesh like us, lived with a holy integrity that changed lives. The Bible calls that … healing. We will have our good days and our not-so-good days, yet as individuals and a community, we can strive to “Be the Church,” (as our sign says) with integrity.
May peace and a deep sense of congruence be yours,