One of my neighbors knocked on our door last weekend, and when Pam let her in she was carrying a large framed picture. I was upstairs and couldn’t see what it was, but I heard my neighbor, who is a nurse who works in a senior center, explain that it was a picture that used to belong to one of the residents, a mentally challenged woman named Carolyn. Carolyn had no family, but she was much loved by my neighbor and her family. When Carolyn passed away last year, the few possessions she owned were given to my neighbor.
Among them was a somewhat well-known picture of Jesus based on Revelation 3:2, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” The picture shows Jesus standing outside a door, waiting for it to be opened for him. There is no doorknob on the outside; it must be opened from the inside. You don’t need me to explain the theological significance of that.
But that’s not the point. My neighbor was bringing the picture to us because she didn’t know what to do with it. She’s kept it in her garage, but she didn’t want it in her house. She didn’t want to keep it.
Because it’s in 3-D. 3-D Jesus. You don’t need to be wearing special glasses or anything; he just kind of pops out at you. Trust me, it is a little disconcerting.
She said she used to ask Carolyn, “Carolyn, doesn’t that picture bother you?” And Carolyn would always say, “No, I like it.”
But my neighbor said, “It’s kinda creepy.” Yeah.
She brought it to us because she couldn’t bring herself to throw it away, not because of it’s attachment to Carolyn but because it’s Jesus.
“I can’t just put Jesus on the curb with the rest of the trash, can I?”
I have people come up to me all the time for spiritual counsel—at the gym, at the grocery store, while I’m eating at restaurants—and for all kinds of reasons.
“Where is that verse that goes…”
“Will we see our pets in heaven?”
“Are Mormons Christian?”
But this was a first. Is it wrong to throw 3-D Jesus away, even if it creeps you out?
Like I said, I’m upstairs listening while my neighbor is on the landing explaining her problem to me and Pam, so I can’t see the picture. I can’t get the full effect of the 3-D.
So I ask her, “Does Jesus look at all Jewish in the picture?”
“Does he look like some guy from Michigan or Minnesota?”
“Then throw it away if you want.”
“I know. But I can’t.”
What do you do when you have a creepy 3-D picture of Jesus that you want to get rid of? Apparently you take it to your pastor-neighbors and let them do it. I guess because we won’t get in as much trouble for it as someone else might.
So now 3-D Jesus is by our front door. No one has taken him out to the trash yet.
Maybe I’ll use it to scare away the salesmen who keep knocking on our door trying to give me free estimates on new windows or siding. Or those young people trying to sell me magazines so they can go to Hawaii. Just open the door holding the picture in front of me.
Maybe I can work a deal with the Mormons the next time they come. I’ll listen to them for thirty minutes, but they have to agree to take 3-D Jesus with them. Let the Mormons throw 3-D Jesus away.
I mean, I love Jesus—but the 1st century Jewish 2nd person of the Trinity version, not the creepy 3-D white-guy-from-Minnesota version.