December 02, 2008

Spirit of the Season: a Daily Jesus in Worcester

Diane Williamson of the Worcester Telegram and Gazette has written a funny and insightful column today. In it, she reports a Daily Jesus right here in town. She gets why it showed up, too.

Jesus sighting interrupts my musings

When I returned Lisa's call yesterday, she requested that a photographer come to her house to take pictures of the Jesus image that appeared on the grocery receipt that got scorched by the steamed carrots.

While I assure you I'm not making any of that up, I also confess that I was only half listening to Lisa because yesterday was Cyber Monday, a retail-driven "event" that encourages American workers to shop online for holiday bargains, when what they should be doing is listening politely to people who are absolutely convinced that religious figures show up unannounced beneath their microwave vegetables...

And then there's Lisa. A 46-year-old Worcester woman, Lisa (she said I could use her entire name but I won't, as I plan to make fun of her) told me yesterday that she was steaming carrots in the microwave to make a beef stew, and she set the hot plate of carrots on top of her grocery receipt. Suddenly, she said, "with no warning," the profile of Christ showed up on the supermarket receipt, where apparently some of our top religious icons are appearing when they're not popping up on blueberry muffins and oil slicks.

"I wasn't even thinking about anything religious when it happened," Lisa noted. "It was very unexpected." She added, "You have to have good depth perception to see it."

I'll bet. I asked Lisa if she was sure that the image was that of Jesus, and she said she was, except that "his eyes look a little angry." And she said she had no idea why he would choose to appear beneath the steamed carrots.

"Maybe it's meant for people who don't believe," Lisa said. "I'll bring it down to you right now if you want."

Er, no thanks. I suddenly had too much shopping to do. But I'm guessing we'll see more apparitions as Americans grow more desperate and long for a happier, simpler time...
Williamson is probably correct. Now that the economy is in the tank, people are losing their homes and their jobs and their life savings and we seem to be in for a period of wrenching change, Jesus and Mary and others will be dancing atop muffins and peering from the windows all over the world. It's inevitable; it comes with the trauma in a culture that clings to myths of being saved by supernatural devices.

I mentioned in a previous entry that Jesus seems to show up frequently in unhealthy foods. Maybe I'm looking at that the wrong way; many such foods are precisely comfort foods. Such a connection probably isn't just coincidence.

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