Tuesday, 26 July 2011
I don't know why Jesus would be at Walmart in the first place, that would like the Devil buying bibles at a Christian bookstore. But to top it all off, he somehow got stuck inside the receipt printer machine too. The brown blot which resembles a face happened as the couple were paying for the "development of 11 photos June 12 at a Wal-Mart store". They were mystified at the apparition via shopping receipt, so much so that they compared it to "when someone saw an angel they were afraid".
I was reading the story on the NY Daily News, and there is a poll right beside the article, the options being: "No. It does not look anything like him". As if we would recognize the face of Jesus immediately from any other face. Too often our conception of Jesus, or how we would want Jesus, is to be like is that bearded man who looks wearily off into the distance.
Searching up for Jesus photos for this post, typing in Jesus through google. You get a whole collection of photos of a long haired bearded Jesus, standing alone in a shroud of light, His arms outstretched. If we were to determine who Jesus is by this reasoning, every man who has a beard and unruly hair should be Jesus as well.
It's an iconography that has been established by the Orthodox and Catholic Churches in history that have determined how Jesus "should" look like, nothing to do with the true Jesus--but only symbols. Timothy Freke in the book Jesus Mysteries states that “The now ubiquitous image of the bearded long-haired Jesus did not become established until the Eighth Century." (56) Thought the subject of that book is somewhat heretical, for the purposes of this post, you can pretend I didn't say that. Even Saint Augustine of Hippo lamented that: “we have absolutely no knowledge of His appearance”.
For the couple, how they recognised the face was Jesus related to the theme of the church service they had just attended which was, "was intimacy with God". There is a certain element of fallacy in the sense, there seems to be no link between intimacy and the confirmation through manifestation of faces in receipts. If anything intimacy would manifest itself within the heart, and the Holy Spirit coming into our hearts and sanctifying us.
I think too often, we look for something real happening to us as opposed to something spiritual. We have created a binary between spiritual and reality, privileging the real things which we can touch and feel and neglecting the experiential. Ever since the Enlightenment, empirically defined our faith has become.
It says in 1 Thessalonians 1:5:
"...Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. You know what kind of men we proved to be among you for your sake." (English Standard Version)
Paul in his letter to the Thessalonikan Church evidenced his intimacy with God with the gospel manifesting inside of himself through the Holy Spirit. Of this Holy Spirit, he assigns power--this is not petty power. The word used is dunamis, meaning miraculous power and might, with abundance--this is the word from which we get the word dynamite from. In fact, Paul is using the same word in his letter to the Romans, and he describes the Gospel as the power of God--a miraculous action.
And, surely that is the greatest evidence of change in one person's life to be transformed from what we once were and brought into the Kingdom of Heaven. I think God doesn't need to prove Himself through petty speculation, but He can easily predestines all things onto Himself for His glory and His fame. Desperation is not in God's heart.
My question is how you would know what Jesus looks like? And why is there such an importance attached to visual indications of someone that is obviously not on this earth any longer?
Here are a collection of other Jesus face sightings. They amuse me.