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Smile time: Painting a picture of God

Columnist Chris Brekke says if you want to see God, look to Jesus.

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A Catholic sister is leading her first-grade class in a finger-painting session. She walks up to Gordy and asks, “What are you painting?” He replies, “I’m painting the face of God.”  “But that’s impossible,” she says. “No one has ever seen the face of God.” Gordy replies, “They will in five minutes!”

That’s thinking big. Little Gordy was eager to show folks what God looks like. Even if you smile at this cute joke, was the nun correct? Is the Supreme Being immortal and invisible and dwelling in some unreachable distant dimension? Is the Creator of the universe beyond our capacity to see? Think with me about that.

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We do not visually see God with our eyes. Though over 90% of people believe in a supreme being/higher power/designer of the universe. Does every Gordy get to just imagine their own version of a divine deity? Can I picture God like Santa Claus, and you picture God like a kindly grandpa, and Gordy picture God like a wizard, and your neighbor picture God like a wild-haired goddess? Well, we humans do a lot of that.

However, it probably occurs to clear-thinking people that we mere mortals do not get to decide who God is. We’d like to do that, so that the Almighty One would be an upgraded version of ourselves. However, desiring it does not make it so. Our powers are limited, and we do not get to determine what reality is. A greater Someone has created the world; it’s His stage and we just appear on it for a little while. Any pretend imaginary “God” that I come up with would only be in the “nice try” category.

Though much about God remains a mystery high above us, God has actually shown us His face. The key principle of the Christian faith is that God did indeed put skin on and walk among us. God in His perfect love came to Earth. Emmanuel, God with us. He was born in Bethlehem on Christmas Day, then walked the dusty paths of Galilee, and even sacrificed Himself to liberate us.


I don’t know if Gordy drew the face of Jesus, but I hope so. If you wonder what God is like, what He thinks of you, what He wants from you, how you might connect with Him and with eternity: look at Jesus. As He put it: “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) How fantastic it is that God has made Himself knowable and lovable. The Creator of heaven and earth has also come to be our dear friend and Savior. Wow.

Chris Brekke is a retired pastor who served Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Rochester for 13 years and Trinity Lutheran in West Concord for 10. He and his wife live in Roseville, Minnesota, where he keeps busy with volunteering, church and family.

"From the Pulpit" features reflections from area religious leaders. To contribute, email us at life@postbulletin.com with "From the Pulpit" in the subject line.

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