On my recent trip to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, I visited Thorncrown Chapel, a beautiful work of architecture tucked in the woods. When you enter the space, a greeter asks you to sit down in the pews and quietly listen to music and take pictures.
The posture of siting down in the structure allows you to look up at the soaring ceiling of wood beams crisscrossing one another. It also helps you to look to your right and your left to see the trees and foliage directly outside the windows on each side. Your eyes turn toward the side lights shaped into a cross.
The chapel reinforces the fact that God is in nature and his beauty is seen in every plant and creature we see. The chapel reminds us, too, that we are part of God’s creation, formed in his image to tend and care for the earth. Tending and caring for the earth is an act of worship, and one we should not take lightly. We should honor the earth and celebrate the joy it brings to us. We should sing praises as we work to preserve the world around us, and we should take the time to reflect on and marvel at his handiwork.
But as the chapel architecture reminds us, it is the cross of Christ that should crisscross every angle that we view of the earth around us. It is that cross that makes all of life beautiful beyond measure.
I recently went on a short vacation to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. One of the popular sights to see there is “Christ of the Ozarks,” a large statue of Jesus with arms outstretched à la the Christ the Redeemer statue in Buenos Aires. But it has its own look and feel that somehow tells you that you are in the Ozarks.
It makes me think, “How does Christ look to you?” What does “Christ of Mark Zimmermann” feature most prominently? I would say that for me when I think of Christ, I think of his loving eyes. I picture his arms reaching forward to embrace me. I ponder his smile upon me.
Take a few moments today to consider what your image of Christ looks like for you personally. How do you see his face? How do you view his stance toward you? Perhaps take some time to draw your concept of Christ.
Our experiences with Christ may be different for each of us, but in the end the qualities of Christ that remain the same are his everlasting love and care, his forgiveness and grace. Those aspects will never change. Thanks be to God!
We are in an era when we are thinking about each other’s faces
more often than we perhaps did in times before. I am thinking about the many
faces of people that now appear before us when we video chat with family and
co-workers. I think of faces we can’t see when they are behind masks in grocery
stores or restaurants or other locales. I think of our faces on our profiles on
Facebook and Instagram and other social media outlets.
Face it! Our faces say a lot about us, about who we are, about how we feel, about what matters to us. Those who are fellow Christians with us (and those who are not) are looking closer at our faces than we may realize. It is important for our faces to reflect Christ. The Bible says, ”For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” Our faces should shine with Jesus’ love. Our faces should reveal that we know God in our heart. Our faces should show that we are aware of the way out of the darkness. No matter what we face, we have a Savior who is watching us with love and leading us to glorify him in every smile, every listening ear and every eye that looks with care. People are saying they can see people smile through their masks. The beauty of our faith in Christ can go through and get out from under any barrier put in front of it. Let your face be a beacon of Christ’s presence in your life, no matter where it may turn up.