Is it possible to discover God in a short stack of pancakes or cloud formation or in a paint smudge on the sidewalk? Some people believe it is. Beliefnet.com has created a new photo gallery called “Seeing Jesus (and Mary) in Food and Other Objects” Check it out. It’s a fascinating question – the power of the eyes of faith. In my book, co-written with Jennifer Schuchmann, “Nine Ways the God Always Speaks” I address this question of “seeing signs from God” in natural phenomena. Here’s an excerpt.
“It’s a sign from God!”
People apply those words to everything from a phone call to a natural disaster. When confronted with a coincidence, do you immediately assume that God’s behind it? And if you think he is, do you think he’s trying to tell you something?
Is it possible that some things just happen?
Or is everything a sign from God?
In August of 2007, Deb Serio, a high school teacher from Forest, Virginia, discovered that a slab of concrete in her driveway contained a sealant smudge resembling the face of Jesus.
Was concrete Jesus some kind of pavement prophet?
Was it a sign from above?
Deb, a church-going Lutheran, considers the smudge little more than an odd occurrence–not a sign or miracle. “There are some people who need this kind of thing to sort of start them on their faith journey. I don’t,” she said. “That’s why I don’t mind parting with it.” She sold it to a winning eBay bidder, islandoffthecoast, for $1,800. After the sale, the slab was removed from Deb’s driveway and shipped to the unidentified bidder.
It seems that Deb believes the face of Jesus is a sign only if you need it to be.
In 2004, a ten-year-old toasted cheese sandwich said to bear the image of the Virgin Mary sold on eBay. The owner grossed $28,000. Is the mother of Jesus in a cheese sandwich also a sign if you need it to be?
Perhaps the winning bidder thought so. The past-its-sell-by-date sandwich was bought by Goldenpalace.com, an online casino. Representatives of the casino considered the decade-old lunch a slice of pop culture. They planned to send their toasted cheese trophy on a world tour before reselling it and donating the proceeds to charity. (We can only hope they didn’t send it coach where it could easily be confused with airline food.)
Apparently, Holy Communion during mass isn’t the only time you can eat the body of Christ. While cooking breakfast for his family, Mike Thompson of Beachwood, Ohio, was astounded to see the face of Jesus appear on his pancake. Mike claimed the likeness was a sign from God, and in February of 2006, posted the Holy Pancake on eBay with an opening bid of $500. The bidding soon reached $14,999 and was headed higher when eBay pulled the sale claiming Mike had violated posting rules. Too bad he missed that sign.
Mike, Deb, and the original cheese sandwich owner, all claim their findings were not a sign. We respectfully disagree.
Each of these individuals saw a sign,
the same sign–
a dollar sign.
When Deb walked down her driveway and stared at the face of Jesus in the asphalt, whether she admits it or not, she saw a sign. When the ten-year-old cheese sandwich went up for auction, it was also a sign. And when Thompson stared down the spatula into the flour and water face of Jesus in his pancake, he definitely saw a sign.
There are countless stories of individuals who have seen dollar signs, but the question is, are any of these dollar signs also signs from God?
Is it possible that seemingly chance events: a haphazard splattering of sealant, the random melting of cheese, or the peculiar patterns of pancake batter, add up to something greater than what they seem?
Is God trying to tell us something through these seeming coincidences?