Pastor Mark Anderson
It is no small thing that God has revealed Himself in the face of Jesus of Nazareth. Beings are in relation to one another, face to face. Persons and the creation itself are presented to us. We face them, they face us. Our management or stewardship involves a shaping and reshaping of the face of the world. The face is open to life, a mark of our freedom. The face is also reflective of our self-consciousness and our consciousness of others. Each face is unique, unrepeatable, made in the image of God.
The Christian confession is that “God was in Christ”. This is a literal statement. When those first century Jews and Gentiles looked into the face of Jesus of Nazareth, the were looking into the face of God. That is what we believe, teach and confess. And this presenting Himself to us, face to face, is entirely in keeping with the very nature of the God of creation.
But what can be said of those who look beyond or disregard the face, who seek to blot it out?
In some religious cultures the faces of women, for example, are covered in public. This effectively relegates them to a status which denies their individuality, inhibits their freedom, removes them from the immediacy of relations to other persons as persons. They become, in effect, caricatures. But cultures that encourage this practice are not interested in freedom and know nothing of what the face represents in relation to God’s intention for human beings.
Another manifestation of this effort to blot out the face is on our hands here, in western culture. We live in a time when the face, which is to say the individual, is being replaced by the group, by categories. We are now being prodded to not see persons but members of groups. If you are white, for example, you are said to be inherently racist. Your face, your identity, has been quite literally whitewashed. Who you are as a person is irrelevant. What and who you are is determined by your sex, ethnicity, age, tribal identity, all the other multiple categories that we are supposed to receive as defining today.
Christians, and all freedom-loving people, should resist these efforts because they are aimed at imposing a tyrannical, anti-human agenda on God’s creatures. Christians should actively reject all efforts to blot out the face. For to blot out the face, that unique mark of our God-given uniqueness and freedom, in the end reveals the attempt of an insidious evil to blot out both God and human freedom.
“May the peace of God keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”