Original Posting At http://godlifechurch.me/2016/02/08/7-seconds-of-faith-sharing/
Optical illusions such as the two vases, or saxophone player have been around awhile. Illustrating for us how people can see images differently. With that in mind, I wonder what you see when you look at Jesus, and what does your Jesus look like? What impression does He give to you?
I have recently been using the Christ We Share materiel which is a set of images of Jesus. The questions that accompany are focused around what image you relate to and speak to others from. So who is the christ we share? What might that look feel like to others?
Recently there was a viral campaign in response to Daesh (Isis), by muslims which simply declared to the world as it came to terms with the Paris shootings, ‘not in my name’. Illustrating the importance of images portrayed in our society, images that effect how people see things. In the case for the muslim there is a deep desire for righting the grotesk image Daesh portrays of Islam.
The Christ We Share material includes dozens of pictures of Jesus from artists all over the globe, some provocative, recognisable and also confusing! All of them reflect a range of understandings of who and how we see Jesus. It invites us to consider how others view the Jesus we recognise, and in turn reshapes our understanding of the God we follow. But this is not an advert to go and buy the pack, all though it is a great resource.
So I wonder what is or who is the Christ we share? An image only offers us a snapshot of the character of Jesus, some are angry, loving, kind, laughing, surrounded by people and also alone, there is the Disney Jesus with all the birds chirping around him, there is the tortured image of Jesus upon the cross. Together they might tell us a broader story, individually they only give us one moment in time.
Its that one moment in time that we often have with those outside the church, it’s that moment where an impression is made, that becomes lasting and can be difficult to alter. A first impression can be made between a 1/10th and seven seconds. According to research that first impression becomes a ‘virtually indelible view’ and understanding of the person or organisation.
Suppose for a moment the opportunity arises for you to say something about your faith and in the following seven seconds you have to give an impression of Jesus. Your facial expressions, clothes and stance, would have already communicated something, before you have even mentally prepared a response, or even opened your mouth to speak.
So who is the Christ that you are sharing, by your whole person and by your words, does it reflect the whole picture of what God has done through his son? Or is it a one-dimensional image that is being shown to those around? Perhaps it would be easier to sit in a darkened cave and not talk to anybody about Jesus lest we give the wrong impression! However this is not a practical solution, as for most of us at least, we have jobs and lives to lead.
The first impression is cold and unforgiving, and is a challenge to us, making us think about how we relate personally and organisationally to the rest of the world. The reality is though for many of our interactions we sometimes get a second chance, so if we blew it on the first lets get it right on the second.
Lets not beat up ourselves too much, and be reminded that the Christ we share, is the one who is fully human and fully God, who willingly bears the scars of our mistakes, and in who we find safety, forgiveness and strength; As we try, perhaps sometimes falteringly, to share our image of God with faith, love, passion and wonder in a God who knows us.
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