A friend showed me a nifty website called “The Brick Testament” which presents Bible stories from the Old and New Testament, using Lego bricks. It is such a fun and creative resource but my friend also gave me a “heads up” on something to be cautious about when using this site. Whenever the “Brick Testament” represents God, they usually use a Lego character with an “angry face”.
We can fall into the trap of imagining that God is always showing an “angry” face towards us.
Years ago, I saw a video presentation of the story of the disciple Peter walking on the water from Matthew 14. This particular video presentation revealed to me that I had fallen into the trap of supposing that Jesus looked at Peter with an angry face.
In the story, we read that Jesus is walking on the water, and he commands Peter to come to him. So Peter gets out of the boat and starts walking on the water towards Jesus. But then Peter notices the strong wind, gets frightened, starts to sink and so he cries out, ‘Lord, save me!’ We are told that straightaway, Jesus reaches out his hand and catches Peter, saying ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?’
I had seen many drawings of this story which showed Jesus holding Peter, but rebuking him and showing an angry face to Peter when Jesus says the words, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”
But the video presentation of this story that I saw, was different. It showed Jesus as generous and gracious to Peter. In the video, as Jesus reaches out to Peter he looked upon his disciple with the kind of kindly pity that a parent has when they look on their child when the child has dropped their ice-cream or fallen in a puddle. The video showed a gentle, smiling Jesus, almost a chuckle holding fast to Peter saying, “You of little faith – why did you doubt … I’ve got you!” And the Lord then lifts Peter safely into the boat.
Each Sunday, as we close our worship, we are reminded of the gracious face of God towards us – that same face that looked gracious on Peter. The face of the same Lord who held fast to Peter in the midst of the wind and waves. At the end of the liturgy, the Pastor raises his hand and speaks ancient words of blessing from the Old Testament book of Numbers chapter 6: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favour and give you peace.” And we respond by saying, “Amen.” Sometimes even three times, “Amen. Amen. Amen.” Amen means, “this is true!” Saying it three times is like saying, “This is most certainly true.”
Because of the work of Christ on the cross, the Lord looks upon us with favour, to give us peace.
God keep us in this peace as we travel together through these extraordinary times.