Statues and Images
I was watching a sporting documentary a few nights ago. It was looking at some controversial history and some of the greatest players from the past. I lost count of the number of times someone said “If we were ever going to erect a statue outside our stadium it would be of him”.
Statues have been in the news a lot recently. One of the many triggers for the violence at Charlottesville was a protest about old statues. At Universities in different countries students have been protesting about statues of the great and the good from previous centuries whose attitudes to various social issues are no longer considered acceptable.
It made me wonder about why we have these statues at all – what are they for?
When a statue is erected it is to draw attention to the person depicted. It is to remind people of their importance to give them honour publicly. They are glorified.
When a statue is defaced or torn down it is to challenge that reputation, it is a very deliberate act of dishonouring and belittling the person, of removing them from their place in history and from public recognition.
The treatment of the image is a statement about the person themselves.
In Genesis chapter 1 it says that God made mankind “in his own image”. We are “his likeness”. Every human being is a small depiction of God, in a sense, a living statue. Humans were created to be a reminder of God’s greatness and to increase His glory and honour – whether they know it or not. Each of us can choose to try to enhance that image or to deface it through every action we take and every word we speak.
Paul wrote the Corinthians “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
Let us choose today to live as images of God, that in our eating and drinking, our work, our conversations, our driving, our laughter, tears and every area of life we will increase the glory of God and enhance his reputation among those around us.
Statues don’t always have to be serious. In 2 Scottish cities there are prominent statues to favourite local cartoon characters and in Glasgow city centre the Duke of Wellington is rarely seen without a traffic cone on his head – there was a public protest when the council tried to stop this from happening.
Joy, laughter and fun can also bring glory to God if we remember that even these are his gifts to us.