My Fellow Salukis (and Saluki wanna-be's! :-)
They say that ‘a picture is worth a thousands words.’ Those of us who are visual learners would heartily agree.
In a liquid-modern era like ours, images are replacing words. For example, Chili’s no longer needs to inscribe it’s name under its logo. The infamous ‘red tamale’ says it all.
*Starbucks? The Green lady
*McDonalds? The Golden Arches
*Apple Computers? The Apple of Eden
*Twitter? Blue Bird
*Target? Red Bullseye
The power of image. Maybe that’s the way it supposed to be. I say that because the use of ‘image’ seems a common way that God communicate with us.
Sometimes ‘the word of the Lord' came to a select Old Testament prophet which, in turn, was audibly relayed to others by said prophet.
More often than not however, God would begin with a vision or series of images which left said prophet with the rather unenviable task of trying to describe said image with words.
Image as end, word as means.
Jesus himself tended to do the same when he referred to, what he called, ‘the kingdom of God.’ He did so through real-time images ('signs') often miraculous in nature, before employing words to explain the meaning of the preceding 'sign.'
John the Baptist, was undoubtedly wondering whether he’d bet on the wrong horse, while languishing in a Roman prison. When he sent a couple of his followers to effectively ask Jesus: ‘Um, I don't wanna be rude but, well, are you ’really’ the King of Kings or did I make a terrible mistake?’ Jesus replies by telling John’s followers to go back and describe for John, the 'signs' of the arrival of 'the king' in order to reassure him that, yes, John had indeed bet on the right horse.
The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.
I have no interest in attempting to create a one-size-fits-all formula about how to go about a life of faith. God knows that we have enough of those. Quite frankly, I am far from certain about what to do with this ‘image-preceding-rhetoric’ model but it certainly seems worth pondering. Never more so than in an image-conscious age.
It makes me wonder, for example...
*About the countless times I have spoken about Christ before offering an image (however imperfectly) of him to friends of colleagues. Words untethered to images.
*About how churches, for example, might consider asking an artist to sketch a picture throughout a homily, offering an image, in addition to notes, to remember the sermon/homily by.
*About the wisdom of painting an image of Christ through both individual and collective acts of love, patience, mercy, charity and service within one's primary community so that, should people ask, there would exist an image available to explain with words.
Just a few words.....about how words should be tethered to images.
All the best,