Imagine you are a fifteenth-century sculptor and one day receive an e-mail from Michelangelo himself, asking if you would be willing to come to his studio to complete a piece of work he has begun. He mentions that you are expected to continue the work in such a way that Michelangelo’s own reputation will be enhanced by the finished product! God’s call to us to ‘have dominion’ over his creation entails this sort of compliment to what we are capable of achieving as his stewards. It also brings a correspondingly heavy responsibility for what comes out of our stewardship. If this is what being ‘in the image of God’ involves, then clearly our service for God is to be as wide as the creation itself and will include taking good care of the environment. The passage that begins in Genesis 1:26 is often helpfully referred to as the ‘cultural or creation mandate’. It enjoins us to bring every type of cultural activity within the service of God. Indeed, there is a dynamic element to ‘the image of God’. God himself is revealed or ‘imaged’ in his creation precisely as we are busy within the creation, developing its hidden potentials in agriculture, art, music, commerce, politics, scholarship, family life, church, leisure and so on, in ways that honour God. As we take God’s creative commands of ‘Let there be …’ and develop the potentials in them, we continue to spread the fragrance of his presence throughout the world he has made.
From The Drama of Scripture: Finding our place in the biblical story by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen (pp. 15–16)
Not the golden prose of Spurgeon, but these words are worth their weight in refined gold, methinks. But the words also bear down on me heavily. You see, I used to volunteer at an old folks’ home before my tweens; just felt really compelled to do something, anything after reading an article related to the National Council of Social Service. Sent in an application (this is why you should always provide information about just how to do something, anything alongside an article prompting people to do just that), was contacted by a girl who turned out to be my cousin (funny story), and I started hanging round St Joseph’s Home for the Aged in Boon Lay every Saturday afternoon for a good few years.
Then all that ended. I can’t even remember why. Apathy? University? Anyway, now I don’t do anything at all by way of contributing beyond my work (ostensibly for the future of education but perhaps not always) and minuscule service at church. Bathetically pathetic. You know, before I came to Hong Kong, I thought I might help out at Médecins Sans Frontières, but that didn’t happen. Even though this city has an impressive number of charitable organisations, I’ve just done nothing at all. Ri-dunk-ulous. Entrer le Slam Dunk de le Ridiculousness de Moi. I fear I have become an empty Ms Pggy in the guise of a slothful dunderhead.
After reading the extract above (by the way, Extract is not a good movie, not even when it’s inflight entertainment), I felt divorced from the proper relationship between the planet and moi (down, Ms Pggy, down!). I mean, the only thing I’ve grown lately is mould! Must … seek ways … to honour … my Creator. Amen.