Monday, March 12, 2007

Imaging Jesus

Do you ever try to imagine what Jesus looks like? What image comes to mind when you wonder what he looked like when he walked this earth? St. Paul says that Jesus "is the image of the invisible God . . ." (Colossians 1:15) and so, I picture Jesus as not being a slave to fashion.

Image seems really important these days. The Delta Zeta Sorority at DePauw University "reorganized" and dismissed more than a hundred members. The uproar is over whether those women fit the "image" required. Here is part of a recent news article that emphasizes our fixation with the way we look:

"These days, 'American Idol' dedicates hours of airtime to auditions in which judges openly chortle and make fun of would-be contestants' looks, style and personality quirks. Taking a cue from the grocery tabloids, entertainment magazines and TV shows now regularly pick apart celebrities' appearance and attire. It's no wonder, one professor says, that students feel free to mock those who don't fit their image ideal.

"'It's out from under the rocks. They're saying what so many people think and believe,' says Thomas Cottle, an education professor at Boston University who has studied the way appearance affects public affirmation. 'It's tragic.'

"Recent studies have found that a growing number of young adults are more narcissistic and materialistic than their predecessors. And more of them are seeking spa treatments, plastic surgery and anti-aging remedies at younger and younger ages. It's gotten to the point that image is the 'currency' on which youth culture runs, says Jessica Weiner, a Los Angeles-based author and public speaker who specializes in young people and self-esteem. 'We have flung so far out of control in this society based on appearances,' Weiner says. 'We're incredibly more focussed on image than we were even 10 years ago.'

"The problems come when people get so wrapped up in image that they lose themselves. 'They're trying to emulate an image given to them that's really not encouraging them to discover who they are, truthfully,' Weiner says."

Does it improve our spiritual health and well-being to improve our image? This is a trick question. See 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 for one possible answer.

Pastor Linda
The Rev. Linda McCloud
Founding Pastor
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek


King of Peace said...

As to Jesus' looks, the Prophet Isaiah predicted:

"He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him." Isaiah 53:2 in King James Version

"There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him." Isiah 53:2 in the New Living Translation

Isaiah must have gotten it right as Pilate needed a friend to point Jesus out in a group of Galileans. Judas didn't just show them where Jesus and the disciples were, he had to go up and kiss Judas, because to the soldiers, Jesus looked like all the other Galileans. Apparently, Jesus did not worry about his image.


typographica said...

We also know that he did have "hair like wool" and "skin like polished ebony." I always wondered where those white Jesii came from in churches all over the world.