We have only two choices in life. We can be a I-dol or an Icon.
We can and have been I-dols since the Garden of Eden. Idolatry is the fundamental human problem and the heart of our idolatry is the imperial “I” that seizes control of our lives from God and runs them as we see fit.
-I-dols are autonomous. Martin Luther gave us a wonderful phrase for fallen autonomous humans. We have our hearts “curved in on ourselves.” This sinful autonomy can take the form of assertion or withdrawal in apathy. The key is our seizure of control of our lives.
-I-dols are fools. Their vaunted autonomy turns out to be but vulnerability to other forces and powers that enslave them to their distorted and destructive agendas. Bob Dylan was spot on when he sang “You gotta serve somebody. It may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you gotta serve somebody.”
-I-dols are redeemable. Jesus dies to break the hold of those enslaving powers on us and forgive us for our grasping autonomy in rebellion against God. In other words, Jesus’ work of reconciliation reclaims us from our captors and our folly and for the One against whom we inexplicably and heinously revolted.
We are created to be Icons. Each and every human being is to be an Icon of God. When others look at us or we at them the image of God should be what is seen. Imagine a mirror set at a forty-five degree angle on the ground. God looks down on us and we reflect to others around us his reflection. God is to be seen in us and through us each in our unique particularity. Luther again has a phrase that helps. We are to be “little Christs,” he said.
-Icons are those who have been restored by Jesus Christ to their primal identity and vocation.
-Icons are not their own. They have been restored to their proper master.
-Icons participate in and serve God’s agenda in the world by declaring and demonstrating the freedom from their former captors and the new life he has given them. In Luther’s terms, Christ has turned our hearts outward again to the world God so dearly loves.