Whether you are religious or not you have to be aware of the fact that religious icons, at least in the Christian faith, have been popping up everywhere lately. As I remember from Sunday School, the teachers used to say that God was everywhere. Who would have thought that the appearances would be so wide reaching?
Judging from various stories in the news lately, either Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary have a knack at showing up in the most unusual of places. In the past these “appearances” would draw crowds from far and wide; believers who wish to pay their respects. The person whose property the Lord chose to visit would welcome the flock with open arms.
Today, commerce is involved and deities have been showing up in food. You may remember back in 2004 when a grilled cheese sandwich bearing the image of the Virgin Mary sold for $28,000 on eBay.
It was the GoldenPalace online casino that bought the edible Madonna. They were also the same folks who purchased for $10,600 the pretzel that looks like the Virgin Mary cradling the infant Jesus; and they coughed up a measly $232.50 for the chicken breast that resembles the visage of the late Pope John Paul II. It’s all righteously yummy goodness! (And for the record, since we are talking miracles, chicken is truly the miracle food, regardless of what PETA says. It’s one of the only things that we eat before it’s born and after it’s dead!)
Well, there is a lot more food out there. Just this month, in Marion County, Florida, Pastor Renee Brewster found the good Lord in a potato. Pastor Brewster reluctantly started making potato salad for church but was not entirely comfortable doing it, since it was usually the job of a more potato savvy underling.
Despite the fact that we still live in a world with wars, flood and famine, it is not unusual for people to request help from the Lord for all matter of mundane tasks, from winning a sporting event to finding a parking spot, so why not ask for a sign from the Almighty to get you out of making potato salad?
In her own words Pastor Brewster said, “I was hesitant about making the potato salad because Sister Frankie makes the potato salad at church and I said, ‘Lord, if it’s not for me to make potato salad then send me a sign.’”
Right on cue “The Big Guy” gave her that sign as she cut the potato in half and discovered it looked rotten. She only took a second look after her 10-year-old granddaughter said she saw an image of Jesus Christ on the Cross in the split potato. On closer inspection, she saw the image, as well.
She froze the potato heart and used the rest to make the salad, which was served during the weekly rescue mission. Said Brewster, "I just want people to know God is still as real today as he was back then and he can show up anytime he gets ready."
Let it be known that even though she asked for a sign and actually got a sign from God, Pastor Brewster still had to make the potato salad, so the sign didn’t get her out of the task. What I would like to know is where Sister Frankie was during all of this?
Let’s get away from the food for awhile because we can spend all day talking about edible appearances. The face of Jesus has also appeared on screen doors, on tree trunks, on dirty windows and on expressway ramps, just to name a few locations. I hasten to add that when I say “the face of Jesus,” I’m going with the standard images that we have all seen depicted of him in stain glass and on religious merchandise. Considering the region of the world that Jesus hailed from, I’m not willing to buy the fact that he would look like Ted Nugent. But I digress.
My two favourite religious sightings, after the grilled cheese, both came last month. The first one was in an ultrasound in Ohio. Monet Sledge was in preparation for her first baby, but instead of seeing the image of an infant, she saw something else along with her baby girl – she saw Jesus, with arms stretched out, on the cross.
Monet showed the picture to her sister Tequoia Smith, a married mother of four who has seen her share of ultrasounds. Smith was expecting to see little body parts, like a face, arms and legs, but instead she too saw the image of Jesus on the cross, crown of thorns and all. Despite this revelation, or perhaps because of it, doctors say the baby is perfectly healthy and due August 12th.
Some people are encouraging the mom to sell the image on eBay, but she has not decided whether or not the image is for sale just yet. For now she is just embracing the picture as a positive message from above.
"People say maybe my baby is gonna be blessed and maybe it is a good sign," said Sledge. "I don't know. I've done wrong in my life, maybe he's forgiven me early."
Not so fast Monet! A four pointed cross and a crown of thorns . . . that could be a painful birth. Perhaps you should pray for a caesarean!
But what I consider the oddest religious sighting of late is this one. A Monterey, California man says he can see the image of the Virgin Mary in his leg after a motorcycle accident. Marc Lipton said he was riding his motorcycle when he lost control and slid about 50 feet along the road. Lipton wasn't wearing leather chaps at the time because he was close to home.
Lipton said he believes the Virgin Mary protected him from further injury when the motorcycle slid out from underneath him. Now, the Roman Catholic Church has very strict guidelines regarding what is deemed an official sighting of the Virgin Mary, so we are still awaiting word from the Diocese of Monterey who will investigate Lipton's leg as a legitimate apparition.
So we have seen either Christ or Mary on all sorts of food, all sorts of buildings, various structures and now . . . a scab! The Lord really does work in mysterious ways. Heaven help us all.
That’s the Stuph – the way I see it.