“So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” Genesis 1:27
There is a story and it is perhaps a myth, but it is a good story. The name of the story is “The Rabbi’s Gift”
The story concerns a monastery that had fallen on hard times. Once a great order, but it had decayed to the point that there was only five monks left and four of them were all over seventy years in age.
In the deep woods surrounding the monastery there was a little hut that a rabbi would visit to be alone in prayer and meditation. Through their many years of prayer and contemplation the old monks had become a bit psychic, so they knew when the rabbi was in the hut. The rabbi is in the woods again they would whisper to each other. As the abbot agonized over the imminent death of his order, it occurred to him that just maybe the rabbi would have some advice on how they could save the order.
The rabbi welcomes the abbot at his hut. But when the abbot explained the purpose of his visit, the rabbi could only tell him. I know how it is. The spirit has gone out of the people. It is the same in my town. Almost no one comes to the synagogue anymore. They had a wonderful time visiting. The time came when the abbot was ready to leave. They embraced each other. The abbot said, “I have failed in my purpose for coming here. Is there nothing you can tell me, no piece of advice you can give me that would help me save my dying order? The rabbi says, “I have no advice to give you. The only thing I can tell you is that the Messiah is one of you.
When the abbot returned to the monastery all of the monks wanted to know what the rabbi had told him. The abbot told them that the rabbi has no advice, but he did tell me that one of us is the Messiah. I don’t know what he means.
In the days and weeks that followed, the old monks pondered this and wondered whether there was any significance to the rabbi’s words. They began to treat each other with more love and respect. Maybe this is true that one of us is the Messiah. Things began to change within the monastery. They began to see each other in a different light. The change filtered into the nearby town and more people started to visit. With this even some younger men wanted to join the order.
This is only a story, but if we realize that we are all created in the image of God and started treating each other this way, there will be change.