MSN.com has an article about Jesus this weekend . . . it seems that Jesus is keeping pretty busy these days. Apparently his face is popping up everywhere people look . . . a banana . . . the kitchen cabinet . . . a candy bar . . . and, even a ultrasound! It seems that Jesus is showing up everywhere . . . you can’t escape the dude!
Pareidolia . . . that is the explanation that is often given for the various sightings of Jesus in common everyday items. Pareidolia is humankind’s knack of seeing faces in objects. The faithful don’t buy it . . . Jesus is showing up in the morning Cream of Wheat . . . and in the burnt toast. I understand that the Vatican is looking into these phenomena and that once they find a pope they are going to give it the “thumbs up” as miraculous. Me, well, I am still out on this one.
Jesus, the dude, is everywhere . . . at least that is my understanding of the scriptures and what I was taught in seminary. Jesus is everywhere . . . like the air that we breathe. If we want to see Jesus it is a matter of making ourselves conscious of his presence. The problem is most of us aren’t too conscious of the presence of anything but ourselves. Because of that we often miss the presence of Jesus with us. At the same time, I haven’t seen him in any of the food that I eat or the objects that I own . . . but, I believe he is there!
That doesn’t mean that I am not looking. I heard that the person who saw Jesus in a piece of toast made hundreds of thousands of dollars off that burnt stale bread. I might be a follower of Jesus, but I am also a good American . . . a good capitalist . . . and, a dollar is a dollar! Have you seen the salaries that ministers are paid? If I can make a few bucks off a picture of Jesus in my beer foam . . . I don’t think the American version of Jesus would complain. It would be a blessing!
Blessing or not, I am still looking. Haven’t quite found the Jesus that everyone else is seeing in everything from the clouds in the sky to the kitchen sink . . . but, I keep looking. I have found images of Bob Dylan, Pee Wee Herman, and the Trix Rabbit . . . but, no Jesus. At least not yet. I think that the wife is getting tired of me searching for Jesus . . . especially when I ask her to whip the scrambled eggs to the right instead of the left in hopes that she can create a little holy magic. The result? A pretty angry wife and a pile of scrambled eggs which I am not real fond of! No piece of bread . . . no candy bar . . . pizza . . . shower stain . . . or bug smashed on the windshield goes unexamined. Jesus is out there and I have got to find him!
Mickey Gilley used to sing about looking for love in all the wrong places . . . I think I am looking for Jesus in all the wrong places. First of all, because there were no cameras when Jesus was alive, and because he never posed for an official portrait, we have no pictures of Jesus. No Instagrams of him . . . nothing! We really do not know what he looks like . . . and, it is pretty certain that he is not some blonde Adonis like Brad Pitt! We really do not know what Jesus looks like. Second of all, I don’t think that Jesus needs a marketing plan that puts his face on every conceivable object humanity has ever made. Jesus doesn’t need product placement. So, why in the world do any of us think that we see his image in anything . . . especially the food that we eat!
Simply, I believe in what the Book of Genesis states when it says that we are all created in the image of God. Because of that I believe that in order to see Jesus I would need to get pictures of every living person, past and present, combine them into one humongous collage in order to see an image of the living Jesus. You have seen what I am talking about . . . millions of individual pictures put together to create one picture. From a distance you see one thing, up close you see the many images that are combined to make one big picture. As simplistic as that seems, that is what I believe.
Because of that, I have seen and encountered Jesus many, many times. I have seen Jesus in the depressed individual who struggles to make it through the day. I have seen Jesus in the person who has run the race, grabbed the prize, and known victory. I have seen Jesus in the mother who is struggling with a baby who is cranky and uncooperative, and she is ready to through the towel in. I have seen him in the person who mourns the death of his or her spouse, still trying to figure out how in the world he or she is going to make it to the next day. I have seen him in the brokenness of humanity . . . in the glory of success . . . and, in everything in-between.
In the church there used to be a greeting that was used in worship . . . the Christ in me greets the Christ in you. Can you see the image of Jesus in that? Can you see the eyes of Jesus staring back at you as you embrace that individual across the pew or aisle?
Yes, there is no escape from the dude . . . he is everywhere. The problem is we are looking in all the wrong places. We just need to open our eyes . . . Jesus is everywhere.