A few weeks ago, having helped my little daughter get dry after her bath, I looked down at the damp carpet and exclaimed to my wife “Hey, it’s Jesus!”.
If you half-closed your eyes and suspended your disbelief you could, indeed, see the face of Jesus. Or Che Guavara. Or… well, whichever bearded figure your subconscious chose to see.
Our image of Jesus – and Marmite
Now one of my favouritest foodstuffs is Marmite. If you don’t know what Marmite is, explaining that it is a yeasty sandwich spread won’t do it justice, but you will just have to take my word for it that you are missing a treat. Or not, since half of the British population, including my wife and daughter, would say that it is a foul and revolting slime. So I was quite chuffed to see on the BBC News that Jesus has chosen to endorse it too. In a kitchen in Wales. And, presumably, to use it as a medium to remind the world of his endless love (though that wasn’t mentioned in the news story, unfortunately).
There is a serious question to be asked here about the image of Jesus we have in our minds. Rejesus has a Faces of Jesus Gallery which is presumably designed to break us out of our Victorian Jesus thinking, but they still somehow mostly look the same, straggly hair, beard etc., even though no-one ever thought to record what he looked like (or what he liked on his toast at breakfast, for that matter). Does our visual image of Jesus determine what we think Jesus is like as a person? As a Son Of God?
Phone the papers or walk away?
Meanwhile back in that kitchen in Wales, I can’t help wondering what kind of people see a smear of marmite, think (as I thought with the bathroom carpet) “Hey – it’s Jesus!” and then phone the newspaper. And I can’t help wondering also what kind of newspaper reporter receives such a phone call and thinks “Hey – that’s a story!” A desperate one maybe.
When I saw my bathroom carpet I just pointed it out to my wife, because she was around anyway, and she just laughed because she’s used to me being strange. And then we walked away.