There is no one way to express or explore the Image of God. Interior, exterior, personal, communal, concrete, virtual, physical, conceptual. The list is not to be exhausted. Immensity is a word that maybe tweeks at the breadth and depth of how God's Image may be expressed and discovered.
As a young adult I worked for five summers at a camp in northern Wisconsin. The name of the camp at that time was Imago Dei – Image of God. Restoration in that place with some of the vast possibility of God's Image took place. Restoration occurred in the outdoors, in Christian Community, through rigorous physical times and quiet contemplative times.
Each week's camp community would begin anew on a Sunday afternoon an continue formation through Saturday morning. On Saturday morning, the week's community would be dispersed and sent forward to where its individual images were next meant to reflect and reform the Image of God.
Every week at Camp Imago Dei, the Image of God in each Beloved participant had come from somewhere. The forming of each Beloved into that week's camp community usually didn't start to become visible until Wednesday. It took at least that amount of time, from Sunday until Wednesday morning, to let the dust of travel settle and the details of lives from different places be honored or quieted.
Getting into the rhythm of each week's ever-reforming Image of God would go something like this:
Alpha (beginning, first things of the day)
Omega (closing, last things of the day)
Once the camp week would get to Wednesday through this practice, the remaining days were afforded a fresh energy for entering into worship and recreational experiences that became more meaningful. An even more physical experience of this mid-way entering into God's Image of community often included an over-night journey. There was a mid-way point on a path through a swamp between main camp and the place in the forest where cabin groups would go for overnights.
This summer experience was looked forward to each year by many. In my five summers, I looked forward to the folks I'd see again, who looked forward to their week of restoration.
The season of Lent in the Christian Liturgical Year can bring to us a similar experience. We are moving into about the “mid-week-of-camp,” if you will. The middle of this year's Lenten journey is here.
How might your weekly or seasonal Lenten Practice reflect the rhythm found at Camp Imago Dei?
At this time in the season, what dust around your Beloved Image has been able to settle, or perhaps be brushed away through this year's prayer practices?
What Image of God in or around you are you seeing for the first time?
What group experience is beginning to bring you refreshment, restoration to your Holy Image as God's Beloved?
I bid you a continuing Holy Lent.
(Rev. Colleen Kamke-Nieman)