Word for Word 1/24/24

Pr. James Buckhahn
Pr. James Buckhahn

Who Am I?

Hello again from Pastor Buck here at Lansing UMC.  “Who Am I” - seems to be a hot topic in our world today. I am going to address this topic by telling you who I am and how I came to that conclusion.

Let us begin. I am human, a species created separate and apart from all other creatures on this earth and yes created by God. From Genesis 1:26-27, “Then God said, “Let Us make humankind in Our image, according to Our likeness… So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”   As a human I do share some of the basic biological building blocks (i.e., DNA) with other creatures God created.   But as a human I have what no other creature has, God’s DNA. “Let Us make humankind in Our image”, this is not something biologic but on a higher order. I call it God’s DNA, others may call a soul.

Let me go back to, “…male and female He created them.” God created humankind in His image, but on the biological side of creation He created two different forms of humankind. So, I am a human with God’s DNA, and I am a male human through God’s biological created DNA process. One could ask why the two types of humans? Well, if we look at Gensis 2, we see the heart of God towards His human creation. “Then the Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.” What is interesting, is that in the Genesis 2 creation account, God creates all the other living creatures looking for a suitable companion for “man”. When God could not find a suitable companion among His new creations, it is then He creates women from the rib of man. Finally, the most basic reason for creating man and women is in God’s directive, Gensis 1:28,  “…Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth…”.  Yah… making babies.

But there is more than making babies, it is making families, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” (Genesis 2:24) Let me highlight one thing here, in the beginning before humankind fell from grace, man and women were co-equals, “let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the livestock and over all the earth, and over every crawling thing that crawls on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26)   

One not only join’s together through biological DNR but in God’s DNA as well. I am human with God’s DNA, I am male, I am part of the biological family going all the way back to creation’s beginning. So, is this the end of discussion… No.

“Who am I” goes deeper than that. We call it our identity. I would say being human, being biologically male are my foundational or corner stone identity. I could also say I was a son, I am a brother, a father, I was a husband, twice. I have been a driller, an engineering technician, an environmental specialist, a manager, and now a pastor. And yes, I am heterosexual.   But I will argue that these are not identities, but simply our human traits.  Google the definition of traits and you get this, “a distinguishing quality or characteristic, typically one belonging to a person.”   Whereas an identity is, “the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.” One is fixed and one is changeable.

When I talked about my foundational or corner stone identity, I left out one, and that is being created in God’s image and having God’s DNA. All of our scientific knowledge and understanding has only shown us the unbelievable complexity of creation but can never answer the question of where it began.  As I like to say, “If you believe in the big bang theory… who supplied the materials and lit the fuse?”

It is this identity that was broken when humankind fell from grace, but which God has been trying to heal ever since.  Also, on the biological side of humanness we lost everlasting life and death came into the world. We talk about finding one’s identity, but it is not our identity that is lost, but God’s.

We, me have been trying our whole life to live into different traits, hoping one will make a true difference in our lives. But I am human, I am male, and I am made in God’s image having His DNA and that is my foundation. As such, I, we have been given a fix for our broken God’s DNA and that is Jesus the Christ. He has saved us not only on a human level but also on the spiritual level as well. What we need to do is trade in all of our traits for Christ.  The Apostle Paul outlines it best in Galatians 2:22, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  Also, Galatian 5:16-18, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.”  Let the scripture be clear here.  When it speaks of “Flesh” it is speaking of all human thoughts, actions, in-actions, and desires that are contrary to a Christ centered life.

Bottom line for me and I hope for you as you re-find your identity is, I must live my life as Christ, using my God given traits and gifts not to identify me but to show Christ to others. Only when that happens can we become one flesh again or as Paul says in Galatians 3 26-29, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Who am I? - I am a human with God’s DNA, I am male, and I am a child of God trying to be and live like Christ.

Be Blessed and be a Blessing to Others.

Pastor James Buckhahn, United Methodist Church, Lansing