August 29, 2007

Christ is a Fence-Sitter

Apparently Jesus is on a national tour. Back on August 14, he popped up on a cabinet door in Connecticut. Nine days later, he stopped off for a stint on a wall in Laredo, Texas. As of this morning, he's been found sitting on a backyard fence in Lodi, California belonging to Ana Garcia, a devout Catholic, by her sister, Emily West, also a true-believer and a recent breast cancer patient as well.

There are two stories that differ in the details of this latest manifestation, so I'm going to quote both in full. The first comes from a local newspaper, the Tracy Press:

Is it Jesus or knot?

LODI — Ana Garcia was mowing her backyard lawn last week when her sister, Emily, saw something odd on Garcia’s fence.

"She said, ‘Ana, you’ve got to come over here,’" Garcia said. "‘What do you see?’"

Garcia replied, "Oh my God, that’s Jesus!"

It might be said that Jesus is in the eye of the beholder. Some may swear it’s a likeness of Christ Garcia’s fence on South Hutchins Street, while others will think it’s just her imagination.

"It’s bizarre. It’s a mystery, but I’m a true believer that he’s around us," Garcia said.

A devout Catholic, Garcia plans to contact St. Anne’s Catholic Church and ask someone from the parish to take a look at the likeness on her fence.

Garcia has lived at the same house for eight or nine years, and the fence is two or three years old. But it wasn’t until Friday that she noticed the figure.

When asked what she thinks Jesus symbolizes on the fence, Garcia said she wasn’t sure, except that he wants to be seen more.

"He might want peace," she said.
Note two elements of the story: Garcia was mowing the lawn when her sister saw Christ, and she conjectures that Jesus wants to be seen more and wants peace.

The second report comes from ABC TV News channel 10:
Lodi Woman Sees Face of Jesus on Fence

Emily West was doing some meditating over the weekend in her sister's backyard in central Lodi when something caught her eye.

"I looked up and saw the face of Christ in the fence and I said, "Whoa," West said.

She called her sister Ana over to ask what she saw. She too agreed, it was the Son of God.

Emily says the profile of Jesus can be seen on a knot of wood, along the fence which was built about two years ago.

"No one noticed it until now," said West.

She says whatever the image is, it's helped renew her faith after a life-threatening illness.

"I'm a breast cancer survivor. I've been through a lot recently. I take this as a sign things will be ok from now on," West said.

The family, who is Catholic, plans to invite the parish priest to see the image, too.
In this second story, sister Emily was meditating in the backyard when she saw the image. I find it a bit hard to believe that someone would be meditating so close to a running lawn mower, though I suppose it's possible. On the other hand, sisters Ana and Emily certainly seem to lend different intents to this particular image. Emily, who has recently been through a health crisis, immediately ties the appearance of the image to her own trauma while Ana's conjecture as to why Christ would manifest on her fence is generalized and doesn't appear to contain an element of personal concern. I've been noticing since I began tracking these events that the appearances are often first noticed by individuals who have been through some kind of traumatic experience and then pointed out to others. Having these two sisters offer their respective interpretations of the significance of the image offers a good opportunity for side-by-side comparison. Indeed, the more traumatized of the two sisters is the one who picked out the image and she confirms this further by attributing personal significance to what she's seen.

This suggests to me that just being a true-believer isn't the necessary piece of making the series of jumps from a neutral object to a human face to the face of Jesus in these incidents. It may be that certain true-believers are spending some amount of time actively looking for the images. In other words, they're not just prone to interpreting something they happen upon, they're looking for an image of a "savior" to appear to them in much the same way that others might cast about in search of their lost keys when they can't find them while getting ready to drive to work. There is an element here of "why me" involved with the trauma that causes a crisis of belief, even if that is never openly expressed, that necessitates a divine intervention, as it were, in the mind and eye of the beholder.

If the knot in the fence is examined a bit more objectively, it soon becomes apparent that it's not a face at all. It has no nose or mouth, for example. It is indeed just some dark material and cracks against a lighter background. There's nothing much to it at all, but that hint of a beard, long hair, and maybe a crown of thorns (note the cracks near the top of the head) are enough for somebody who desperately wants to be saved out of their turmoil. Once that person has made the interpretation, they immediately pass it along to those nearby.

I suppose I ought to keep an eye on eBay to see if this Christ is put up for auction. It's a particularly portable one as Daily Jesi go.

Sphere: Related Content