As a teacher in a Christian school, my desire is for my students to be like Christ. Ideally, that they would imitate me as I imitate Christ.
In Ephesians 5:1, Paul writes:
Therefore, be imitators of God as beloved children.
The word therefore calls us back to 4:27 where Paul writes:
Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ has forgiven you.
We are to imitate God. In holiness. In forgiveness. In patience.
The Greek word “imitate” is the same word from which we get the word mimeograph.
A mimeograph was a machine that first required the use of a typewriter. A typewriter was used to cut out a stencil of a printed page. This stencil was wrapped around a drum, and ink was transferred to white paper in the areas where the stencil was cut out.
A later development was the ditto machine, or spirit duplicator. This machine utilized a special paper in which text was handwritten or typed on a paper containing carbon ink, usually purple. The ditto “master” was then placed on a metal drum. As the drum was turned, either automatically or by hand crank, mineral spirits would dissolve just enough ink on the master to make a copy on white paper. A spirit master could often make up to 500 copies of a document before running out of ink.
This process was widely used in schools for years until photocopying became the norm.
Dittos, as they were called, were good likenesses of the original, but were often blotted or smeared with purple ink.
In our attempt to imitate God, we will not be perfect. Like the dittos that rolled off the duplicating machine, we will be useful, but we will not be perfect images of the original.
As teachers we need to remember that they too will be imperfect images of the original. The process of becoming Christlike takes time. And patience. And forgiveness.
9 years ago