Made Like God

The incense is strong. The colors are vivid. My friend Lauren and I take off our shoes and walk barefooted upstairs to the center room in the Hindu temple.

Here we see the idols, decorated deities, with signs explaining who is who.

sri-mahalakshmi

flower

Some gods resemble humans. One, a monkey; another, an elephant. They await their worshipers to offer gifts of flowers or food or money. A table displays gods representing the sun, moon, and planets.

hindu-gods-2

red-dress-hindu-god

hindu-statues

A young priest approaches us and kindly attempts explanations. Originally from India, he served in Memphis at the Hindu temple for five years. He is on loan here in Alabama for one month. His accent is thick, his English is broken.

We communicate enough to know there is much we can’t understand.

A devout Hindu woman enters. She picks up a song book and sits cross-legged on the floor, facing one of the gods. She raises her voice with great beauty and foreign tongue.

I don’t understand the words. But I understand her intent. She is worshiping.

Lauren and I continue gazing at the intricate carvings and bright colors and jewels used to depict and adorn the gods, in stark contrast to the metal money boxes placed around them.

For a price, you can sponsor a puja, a religious ceremony offering a gift to the god and in turn receive its blessing.

get-receipt

The priest returns to us. He has gifts. He offers us each an apple and an orange. “For you,” he says.

We’re uncertain what to do. We accept his gift and say, “Thank you.”

gifts-fruit

The Hindu woman has stopped singing. The priest walks near her. He speaks words we don’t understand, but we assume he is giving her a blessing.

He takes something to the statue, then returns to the woman with more words and motions.

There is much about other religions I do not understand.
Admittedly, there is much about my own I do not understand.

But I do understand I am created in the image of my God (Genesis 1:27) (and while I try not to reverse the order, at times I still do).

I understand that my God came down in my form—a human—and lived like me.

He became like me so I could become like him.

He ate, played, slept, walked, prayed. He felt the sting of winter’s wind and the pain of sharp objects and the heaviness of sorrow.

Lauren and I walk downstairs, put on our shoes, and walk out toward the light. Away from the temple. Away from the gods enshrined there.

Our God walks with us. In us. We are his priests (Revelation 1:6). We are his temple (1 Corinthians 6:19).

He is our gift. We receive his blessings.

We worship in thanks. In ways we understand.

And with Spirit, even deeper, for being made in his image.

But you are God’s chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things that he has done.
1 Peter 2:9 (CEV)

* * *

We are each created in his image . . . thoughts? Please share in the comments.

Revised from the archives, originally posted here

12 thoughts on “Made Like God

  1. blankCeil

    Hi Lisa! I’m sure if I was born in India, I’d be Hindu. We just never know, and God had His plan to have me born in the USA, to my faith-filled parents. We never discriminated against other religions in our house, but we were thankful for the tradition we did have, just as these people were in the temple.

    God is one. He is the God of all, and the more we understand that, the more peaceful this world will be. There’s just too much ugliness all centering on differences. Let love save our days, and save ourselves.
    Blessings,
    Ceil

  2. blankGayl Wright

    What a difference between the God we serve and all the other gods! Ours is the only one who became like us, who died for us, who rose again and now intercedes for us. And He has not left us alone but sent the Holy Spirit to live within us to guide us. We cannot work to earn our salvation because He has done it all. We could never do enough. He created us in His image and pours out His love in so many ways. It humbles me and fills me with gratitude to God. I don’t have to worry if I’m accepted or if I mess up, because He loves me and forgives. Because of Him I can be creative and reach out to others. I can show respect to every human being because we are all created in His image. Blessings to you! I’m visiting from #SmallWonder.

  3. blankMichele Morin

    What a beautiful picture of the God who who came to us — rather than expecting us to cobble together a way to find Him. What a great opportunity you had to see this first hand! Thanks for sharing it !

  4. blankSharon

    Lisa, this was just a beautiful post. I like the idea that you visited a Hindu temple. And though we won’t follow their beliefs, sometimes we can learn a thing or two about worship from other religions.

    I especially liked your conclusion as you walked out the door – that we are made in God’s image, and in some miraculously mysterious way, His Spirit actually lives withIN us! I think it’s good meditation to ponder all that that truth means. And I think it’s also very wise to continue on our journey of becoming more like His Son…

    GOD BLESS!

  5. blankJennifer Dougan

    Hi Lisa Notes,

    This line of yours is my favorite today: “Our God walks with us. In us. We are his priests (Revelation 1:6). We are his temple”

    How gracious of the Hindu priests to welcome you and to hand you fruit. I have some Indian Hindu friends too. We ask each other questions and seek to understand.

    Jennifer Dougan
    http://www.jenniferdougan.com

  6. blank~ linda

    May we walk in Christ as we encounter others of varied beliefs. May our outer self look like Jesus to others as we grow more and more like Him on the inside.
    Being willing and able to stand firmly planted in the One Who created us and Who loves us while we visit and/or talk with those God brings onto our paths so that they may see Christ in us.
    Praising God with you, Lisa.

  7. blankJune

    My mom visited a Hindu temple once. She had forgotten to turn off her cell phone, which rang to the tune of “When the Saints Come Marching In,” during her visit. She was mortified, and had meant no disrespect. I would have been mortified too, but it sort of reminded me of when the Philistines found their god face down in front of the ark of the covenant. I believe anyone who truly seeks God will find Him, regardless of what religion they are born into, raised with, etc. When we are reflecting His image we can be a part of that miraculous event! Blessings!

  8. blankfloyd

    I appreciate that you don’t judge others that worship hand made gods. I’m convinced that’s the only way that they’ll be open enough to see God’s love and truth of Him through us.

  9. blankKelly Chripczuk

    What a fascinating experience – it can be so helpful to observe the ways other groups express faithfulness and ideas/beliefs about God, somehow in seeing them our own views are often made more clear. Thanks for sharing, Lisa.

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