A face is a powerful medium. We want to put names with faces so that a whole complete person emerges into our awareness. And yet how often we measure and evaluate people in sections.
We read palms, measure feet and ankles and thighs, compare and contrast waists to hips and chests, even evaluate necks and shoulders. But virtually everyone wants to see the face that accompanies the rest of that package.
No part of our physical self gets more attention, scrutiny, more critical evaluation and more effort than our faces! No part of our human anatomy has more sub-groupings than our faces.
Faces have eyes, with their lids, lashes, brows and color. Faces have mouths, with their lips, teeth and smile. Faces have noses, with their bridges, nostrils, lengths and breadths.
Faces have chins and cheeks, and ears and foreheads. Faces smile, they frown, they scold, they plead, they pity, and they fear, to name just a few expressions.
Do you recall ever hearing or saying, “Look at me when I’m talking to you!”? The commanding power of a face is great.
But what do you see in other people’s faces? What do you see in your own face? Do you dare to see God in the face of others? Do you dare to see God in your own face? We are the images of God.
We are the portraits of God. And nowhere is that more graphic and more real than in our very own faces. We read in Torah:
Then God spoke: “I am your God. I brought you out of the land of Egypt. You shall have no other gods except me. You shall not make for yourself any graven images or any other likeness of me that you bow down before or worship. For I am your God.”
Why did God order or command no graven images or likeness? Because you and I are the living images of God. We don’t need graven images; we don’t need motionless icons; we don’t need elaborate pictures because we are the living portraits of God. We are the visible manifestations, the visible representations of the invisible God. In us, the unknowable God becomes knowable; the unapproachable God becomes approachable; and indeed the invisible God dwells among us. We see fully displayed the sanctity and truth of God in the faces of one another – and of ourselves.
Do we dare to believe that? It is only if and when we are open-minded enough and dare enough to see God that we see ourselves and one another; that we can hope to make real changes, real differences in this world of which we are all part and parcel, together.
Turn your eyes upon one another. Look full in each wonderful face; and the things on earth can grow strangely dim in the light of our glory and truth.
With much affection,