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“I like to picture Jesus in a tuxedo T-Shirt because it says I want to be formal, but I’m here to party.” -Talladega Nights

Hmmm… starting with some Cal Naughton Jr. theory for this post… I hope I haven’t lost you yet.

Just like Cal, I like to picture Jesus as I pray, which is why I am grateful that we portray Jesus in His final moments on Earth on the crucifix. It helps pull me back to the power of real Love and entirely selfless sacrifice.

In the last two years, as my relationship with Jesus Christ has matured and deepened, I have asked Jesus to sit with me during prayer. This started off as a symbol, but as I learn to transcend my busy thoughts and actually quiet my head to hear my heart, I occasionally feel His true presence.

Newsflash: images help us take in the world. Even when we imagine, we are using “sight” to describe things to ourselves. I can only imagine that the blind have some version, perhaps even richer than mine, of painting emotion and thoughts in the mind with images.

Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ gives us this tangible example of the suffering and doubt Jesus chose to face in his last hours.

I watch this movie with a knot in my throat, especially in the flashbacks to happier times with Mother Mary, until I explode in the torture scenes. Each lash of the whip is a witness to the hatred we inflict on Him. Some of the Romans grow in their hatred and obviously want to make Him fall apart, literally. Other Romans show remorse when they see how much He is willing to endure.

The people fall to the feet of fear as they yell out for Jesus’ Crucifixion, as mirrored in our lives.

We find familiarity in Pontius Pilate, as Jen at Conversion Diary put so eloquently, and get a miniscule taste of Mary’s life as the woman chosen by God to bring His Son to life on Earth. She watched Him give his life back to her and to us.

The warmest color peering out from suffering.

As I pray, I see Gibson’s choice for James Caviezel‘s eyes in my rendition of the Lord. He puts His arm around me and asks me to sink into Him. All it takes is surrender of my stubbornness. He wants to take all of this mess from us.

But as it is written: “What eye has not seen, and ear has not heard, and what has not entered the human heart, what God has prepared for those who love him,” this God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.
1 Corinthians 2:9-10

Small plug: Ricky Bobby’s wife in Talladega Nights went to my high school. No big deal.