When we lived in Bethlehem, I had a dream one night that moved me deeply. In the dream, I entered the Church of the Nativity. I found that numerous of my Muslim friends were singing in the front of the church. The light from the large stained glass window bathed them.
Each verse of their song declared a wish to experience Jesus. “We came to see Jesus,” “We came to hear Jesus,” “We came to Jesus for healing,” and so forth. In reality, they do respect Jesus, so this was not too surprising. However, each verse also ended with this lament: “But there was too much glass in the way, simply too much glass in the way.”
Upon awakening, I reflected on the dream, I realized that the multitude of diverse strands within the Christian faith tradition must be very confusing to my friends. Not unlike broken pieces of glass that appear randomly arranged, scrambled among each other, without any overarching form. This is especially likely in the Holy Land, where just about every imaginable tradition of the faith has a representation.
I made it a core value of mine that day to live my life in such a way that I could, through deeds, words, and testimony, present an image of Jesus to others. I hope daily to cultivate my relationship with Jesus, that I might experience more and more of Him. Then, one piece at a time, I hope to build an image that is faithful to the Scriptural witness, and full of grace.
Like a painting, I hope my representation is creative. Like a photograph, I hope it is an accurate representation. And, like a drawing, I hope it draws one’s eyes to the center, Jesus.