What are we here for?

©2010 Todd Rossnagel

It is so easy to get distracted living our lives. Our responsibilities are many: work, school, children, housework, the list could be endless. We could easily begin to believe that those responsibilities, those roles that we play, are the reason why we exist.

Then there is church. Morning worship, Sunday school, mid-week activities, committee meetings, all of these activities could easily become our reasons for existing, our reason for being Christian. If we are honest we ourselves, many of us confuse those things with discipleship.

Lent provides us with time for a corrective. These forty days of walking with Jesus, forty days of practicing the means of grace, forty days of being attentive to what God is up to in us and in the world, provide the perfect setting to again answer the question: What are we here for?

In today’s reading Scott McKnight, takes us to the first chapter of Genesis where the story of our faith tells us that all of humanity was created in God’s image, in God’s own likeness. He tells us that the Greek word for image used here is “eikon” and then calls us to be eikons in the world. To be an eikon is to “be given he capacity to enter into . . . the mutual indwelling of love of the three persons of the Trinity and to learn to love.” (30) So, according to McKnight, humanity’s purpose is love, that is the reason why we are here!

Ash Wednesday reminded us that even though we were created to love we have failed in living this love out in the world. McKnight calls this being “cracked eikons.” This brokenness shows itself in distorted love towards God, other, self, and creation. Thankfully Ash Wednesday also reminded us that through Christ our image could be repaired and because of that we are capable of loving like an eikon would.

The world needs people of faith to be eikons in the world. May this season of Lent prepare us, restore us, and send us into the world to reflect love to God, other, self, and creation. When we do this, when we live out the image of God in the world, we are able to help others answer the question, What are we here for?


This post originally appeared at the 40 Days Together blog, where clergy from the Louisiana Annual Conference share Lenten Reflections on Scott McKnight’s book 40 Days Living the Jesus Creed.

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