There are over a billion Facebook users in the world . . . and, the number is growing as you read this. Over a billion! That is a lot of people . . . I don’t think I could fit them into my living room. Have you ever wondered who those people are? Natalia Rojas, a freelance designer, did and the result was a patchwork quilt that looks more like the static one used to see on television at the end of the broadcast day. The result of her work and effort is seen in the picture above. How cool is that? Over a billion profile pictures of Facebook users from all over the world! If you look way over to the left side of the picture, down towards the bottom . . . yeah, that is me!
Actually, in a glance, you cannot distinguish one dot from another dot . . . it looks like static. Believe it or not, if you are a Facebook user, you are in the mix.
Rojas did not break any rules . . . or laws . . . to complete her project. Everyone who is in the static—I mean picture, still has his or her privacy protected. The project does not store anyone’s private information, pictures, or names. She states: “We’ve just round a harmless way to show 1,262,094,184 Facebook profile pictures and organize them in chronological order.” Of course, when this is done so that all the profile pictures can be seen on one page—it looks like static. As cool as that is, it is even cooler than you might think when you start clicking on the picture and zooming in . . . by zooming in you can actually see the individual profile pictures . . . all 1,262,094,184 of them! And, yes, if you are a Facebook user, you are in there . . . somewhere. If you would like to see for yourself, go to The Faces of Facebook page at http://app.thefacesoffacebook.com/, start having some fun.
In looking at the picture it made me feel pretty insignificant . . . just a teardrop in the sea of life. I have always had a fairly decent ego, maybe not the biggest one in the room, but one that has served me well over the span of my life . . . but, this pops the ol’ ego balloon when realizing how many people there really are out there in the world. I had always wanted to think of myself as being pretty special, but this picture lets me know that I am one tiny speck in the whole of life. As I said, a teardrop in the sea.
I have told the congregations that I have served over the years that each and every one of us is made in the image of God. I think I read that somewhere in the Bible. And, I have also told them that there are no known pictures of Jesus in existence. Yeah, I know, lots of you have pictures of him hanging on your walls . . . and, I know that the last words at the Last Supper were: “All you guys who want in the picture get on this side of the table.” But, the fact is no one remembered to bring a camera on Jesus’ trip through history . . . not even an Etch-a-Sketch!
Because of this I have always told these congregations that I believe that we can see what Jesus looks like. Because we are all created in the image of God . . . and, because the Jesus in me recognizes the Jesus in others . . . all we have to do is to make one gigantic collage made from individual pictures of all of God’s children. You have seen pictures like that before. Time magazine did one years ago in which they took pictures of people from all over the world and created an image of planet earth. From a distance it looked like a photograph of earth, but as one zoomed in it was obvious that the picture was made up of thousands of individual pictures. In such a way, we see Jesus . . . we see God.
So, God looks like static.
At least that is what one gets when combining over a billion individual pictures together on one page—static. Imagine that . . . static! I should have known. When Moses encountered God at the burning bush, God told Moses that God’s names was YHWH (YahWeh). YHWH means, loosely translated here in good ol’ Keener translation, “I am who I am.” That really tells one a lot about God. God is a mystery. How foolish of me to think I could see the face of God in a massive photo collage. What I see is static . . . but, isn’t that image of static perfect?
Well, I can handle that. I can also handle sticking to my guns on this one . . . I still believe what I have told congregations . . . it takes all of us to see God . . . to see Jesus. Together we are the whole of God’s creation . . . of God’s family. That is why I like what Rojas says on her page: “Because there we are, all mixed up: large families, women wearing burkas, many Leo Messis, people supporting same-sex marriages or r4bia, Chihuahuas, Indian Gods, tourists pushing the leaning Tower of Pisa, selfies, newborns, Ferraris, studio black and white portraits, a lot of weddings but zero divorces, ID photos, faces framed in hearts, best friends, manga characters, politic logos, deep looks, love messages, eyes, memes, smiles, sweet grandparents and some not-yet-censured pictures.”
It takes a lot of teardrops to make a sea . . . Rojas’ project reminds us that it takes all of us to see the whole. We are better for it.