I just finished reading a novel set at the turn of the 19th century in slave holding Virginia. I am amazed, again, of the arrogant superiority that one people holds over another. I say ‘again’ because it has been so ingrained throughout history, whether in European colonization of Africa, America’s treatment of the Indians, and even some Christian missionary work where we feel we must change a people to make them look like us. Jesus’ message was one of humility, of being willing to be the servant of all, of washing another feet without asking whether that person was worthy of it or not. If we want to prove the natural sinfulness of man, we need look no further than the “me first, I’m better than you” attitude that rises to the surface in all of us, and has led to the destruction of many people. It is only the Gospel of God’s free gift of grace in Jesus Christ that can begin to change hearts and move a person to look beyond self to others.
One of the pieces of junk mail that came this past week was a catalog for teen fashions. Boy did they miss the mark in this household! Nonetheless, I scanned through it. One of the things that struck me was the faces of all the models, mostly girls, a few boys, all sullen, and not a smile among them. I know part of this is the fashion industry ethos. You don’t see smiles on the faces of models on NY fashion runways. These faces convey to me several things. Sometimes a sense of arrogance and pride of superiority. Other times a sense of the “whatever” attitude of the uselessness of life. I know these are only fashion presentations, but do they convey something of the attitude of our times? These are so opposite of the Good News we have to proclaim. Life is not easy, but we have a joy in Jesus that transcends circumstances, and that conveys itself to the attitude we express on our faces.