The Face of God

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us.’ ”

Genesis 1:26

The lyric from Les Miserables, “To love another person is to see the face of God,” sometimes bothers us. It seems a little too spiritual but not religious, ungrounded in the Christian faith. But it is perhaps not so impious.

When God brings Israel to the mountain to speak the Law to them, God first speaks the Hebrew letter aleph. Aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet, does not make a sound, but is a glottal stop. Literally, the one and only time God will speak to the whole of Israel assembled, God speaks in silence. The rabbis reason that in this moment, not only God but also all creation was silent. The sea stilled, the earth stopped turning, the angels did not worship. This moment in time, this anticipation of the voice of God, was so sacred and so holy that nothing created could distract from it. It is said that the wombs of the women who were pregnant were turned translucent so that their unborn babies could see what was about to happen.

And the rabbis reason something further. The rabbis reason that part of the point was so that Israel would be aware of itself. Israel would see one another gathered and know that collectively they bore witness to the voice of God. To that end, when one would someday doubt what was heard or question if it had happened, another, perhaps even one yet to be born, could declare that God had indeed spoken and had indeed done a wondrous thing in their sight.

So, perhaps God has given us a strange invitation: when God seems silent, look to the person beside. Perhaps there God is to be found reflected.


Who is made in the image of God that surprises you?


Guide us, Spirit, to seek your counsel in all things; and show us those places where you would speak that we might not expect, as you lead us to conform to the likeness of Jesus, our Lord. Amen.