Being married to a Catholic, you cultivate an appreciation for religious statues. We’re not into active veneration at my house, but we certainly have our share of statues and images. I’ve never looked at any of mine as anything more than visuals of my studies, my travels, and my religious heritage until now.
When there was a mandatory evacuation issued for my neighborhood during Hurricane Irene, my family went several hours west. We ended up taking a short day trip to a local college town and window shopping. I went into an eclectic little boutique and found this:
(Image courtesy of amazon.com)
That’s “Pocket Jesus” by Rocket USA. He’s less than 2 inches tall and I just thought he’d be great to have added to my Jesus collection in my office back home. I picked him up at a bargain price and brought him back to the hotel room. Well, I put him on the desk and didn’t much think about him again, except for posting a picture on Facebook. Then the storm began to bear down on my house back home and I looked over at that miniature pink statue of Jesus. I thought that, even though I am hours away from my home, here was a reminder of the comforts of my home. Jesus is all around me there. There are pictures, crosses on the wall, bibles on the shelves, statues, my Church next door, and a myriad of other visuals as well as the relationship in my life.
There in the hotel room was one more visual that reminded me of the strength I find in Jesus. Jesus wasn’t in that room with me because I had a little statue of him. He was there because the very same life I live that makes me want a little statue of Jesus puts me in relationship with him. Jesus is a part of my everyday life, my identity, and my religion. When something is that pervasive in your life sphere, it becomes synchronized with you. If I didn’t have that little statue, would I have been any less comforted? Probably not; it just might have taken me a little longer to get there. The visual aid certainly helped. I think that’s where Catholicism is. They understand the power of visualization. Anyone who has ever witnessed a Mass can get that. While they have their veneration of saints, often in statue form, my beloved Reformation Protestantism does not. That doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the aid of a Jesus statue when I am under great duress.
Now that little pink Jesus has made his way back home with me. He now resides in my office in privileged placement upon my desk. When I look at him, I don’t just see Jesus. I remember when I was a afraid, and the very thought of my savior brought me comfort. I remember that that little statue points back to the very real deity of Christ who I know and who knows me like no other being does. Like flowers from a loved one, it points back to the relationship from which it came. I am very sentimental about my Jesus artifacts, but only because I am so sentimental about my Jesus.