(For the uninitiated, “Theology for Grasshoppers” is my attempt to tell my story of faith to my grandkids. I hope I’m around long enough to tell them personally. But just in case I reach the finish line before I get the opportunity, these letters will be the record of what I believe and why I believe it…in words and stories they can understand.)
Good morning, Farrasprouts!
I gotta tell you, Mimi and I are still recuperating from the sleepover with the three of you this past weekend. It’s crazy. The moment you see each other, it’s like thunder and lightning crashing in a Texas summer storm! The amount of energy and sweat and volume and messes and fun you guys produce is almost more than our house…and our hearts…can hold.
Every time we are with you, I am amazed by how much you are like your parents. You are little expressions of who they are. You are all three so smart, just like them. When I see your creativity and problem-solving, I see them. When I see your fire and competitiveness, I see them. When I see your strong wills and push-back, I see them. When I see your genuine love and soft hearts, I see them.
When I hear you scream with glee or shout with frustration, I hear their voices. When you pull pranks and manipulate and negotiate, I see the same mischievous looks in your eyes that I saw in theirs. When you drop with exhaustion, I feel the same dead weight I felt when I laid your daddies sleepy bodies in their beds at night. (I can only imagine what your mommies were like at the end of their days when they were little!)
I love your parents. I love the kind of people your parents have grown to be, and when I see you, I can hardly contain my joy and anticipation of seeing what you will become as you grow up. I see their handprints all over your little lives. Their images are woven into yours. It is one of the great mysteries of creation and science and how families grow.
There’s an amazing truth that has been around since the beginning of time, but it was made famous in another language many hundreds of years ago. In another part of the world, they speak Latin, and in that language, the truth is called Imago Dei. In English (the language you and I speak), “Imago” means image and “Dei” means God. In English, Imago Dei means “the image of God”.
In the beginning of the Bible, it says:
So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
What that means is not only do you guys have the handprints and likenesses of your mommy and daddy on your lives, you also have the likeness or “image” of God stamped on you. Human beings have the image of God. Nothing else does. We can see the greatness and genius of God all around us…in mountains and oceans and stars and clouds and forests and animals and birds and fish…but in people, all people, everywhere, throughout all of history, is where we see the image of God.
When I look at you guys, I see love and compassion and desire and spirit and purpose and joy and goodness. I see trust and forgiveness and hope and tenacity and sorrow and patience (though not much of that right now). When I look at you, I see freedom and choice and creativity and possibilities.
When I look at you, I see the image of God. I hope you see that when you look at me, too.
Be wise, Grasshoppers.