Imago Dei

1 Mar

A new tradition caused a stir this past January in downtown Saint Paul.  Once again, as Christmas decorations began to slowly come down, the Red Bull Crashed Ice track began to slowly go up.  As I would drive by and watch the mixture of construction crews, church-goers, commuters, and passers-by, I was reminded that as a Christian, I am called to see God in all of His creation, especially in my fellow human beings.

Crashed Ice as an Imago Dei - Kellen O'Grady

Crashed Ice as an Imago Dei

The Latin phrase for this is “Imago Dei” or image of God.  Ideally a church community creates a large collective imago Dei, more fully portraying the Creator.  The more each person within the collective becomes like God, the more the whole community is built up into the imago Dei.

The imago Dei can be seen in other simpler ways as well.  Many easily see God in nature or in a work of art.  In the Eastern Churches, icons are seen as the very presence of God in an image.  For Minnesota, Red Bull’s Crashed Ice presented an exciting view of God alive and well in the Church  in the Twin Cities.  The Cathedral of Saint Paul is the focal point of the Saint Paul skyline.  Turn it purple and blue, build a speed track down the front steps, and you’ll grab anyone’s attention.  For a weekend, the Cathedral threw open its doors in a special way, welcoming guests to the Cities to experience the imago Dei: in athletics, in a communal event, and in the beauty of the Cathedral art and worship.

A faith that is dry and lifeless is no faith at all.  Christianity is built on the understanding that Jesus can be taken at His word: He is the Son of the living God who came to earth to redeem all mankind of their brokenness in the purest kind of love.  If this message is taken to heart, one’s life will change in unpredictable ways.  One becomes an imago Dei.  The Twin Cities are brimming with examples: love among families; service of the poor at the Dorothy Day Center; young adults giving their lives in service through priesthood, religious life, and marriage.  These images stand behind a Church which opens its doors in hospitality to a primarily secular event like Crashed Ice.  When I saw the Cathedral painted with colors, I saw the Church opening a portal to a weary world.  I saw the Church supporting what is good and holy in creation.  I saw her reaching with open arms to proclaim that even Red Bull Crashed Ice can become an imago Dei.

-Kellen O’grady

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