The question above isn’t a typo, as if I meant to write “Who am I?” One is a question of identity: Who am I? The other is a question of ownership: Whose am I? To whom do I belong? The question of identity is a hot one at the moment. To what extent is my identity given to me, and to what extent am I able to construct or choose it for myself? Naturally, the question of ownership is much more threatening to the independent-minded individual. The thought that I might belong, and so be accountable, to anyone other than myself is deeply unpopular. Yet, could it be that our present identity crisis is, at least in part, due to the loss of a sense of belonging?
The Bible puts forward the straightforward, yet challenging, idea that we belong to God: “The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters” (Psalm 24:1-2, NIV). Notice that “all who live in [the world]” belong to God, and for the simple reason that he made it all. So, God has ‘owner’s rights’, the right to tell me how to live my life, because he gave me that life. No wonder people are so keen to do away with the idea of a Creator! But in doing so we lose the first part of our identity as human beings, that we are creatures made in the image of God. It’s a big loss.
Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister/Vicar)