The further I travel on my spiritual journey, the more I recognize my tendency – and the tendency of most others I encounter on the journey – to make God into who I want or need him to be. By extension then, I break the first of the ten commandments of God on a regular basis – make no images of God. As has been said, God created man in his image and we’ve been returning the favor ever since. Do we take the first commandment seriously? Upon first reading, the first commandment deals only with carved or hand-made likenesses of God. But symbolically doesn’t it also refer to the images of God that we hold in our heads? Let me suggest an example of how our image of God is shaped by

In Western Christianity we prefer to see God as a man. And yet the first verses of the Scriptures clearly state: “God created humankind in God’s own image; male and female God created them.” (Genesis 1:27). It seems clear that God cannot be strictly masculine and yet we seem to need more proof. Enter Jesus. Many of the parables, metaphors and teachings of Jesus use father-God images we would call feminine. Consider reading the story of the prodigal son (Luke 15) free of a male-centric view of God. Or the image of God as a mother hen in Matthew 23.

Here’s what I am discovering about myself. Sometimes I need God to come to me as a friend; other times as a lover. At some times it is good for God to come to me as a father; other times in feminine form. In all cases, I need not be afraid to let go of an image of God that is too small. I need God to teach me to let go. In fact, the journey of faith demands that we not only let go of our image of God but our image of self. Neither of those things are things I can do on my own; it has to be done to me by God. That happens when I live openly and honestly, letting the truth of God and Scripture speak into my life. What about you?