The ‘Touchdown Jesus’ statue in Ohio was engulfed in flames after a lightning strike late last night. The six-story-tall depiction of Jesus Christ with his arms raised stood in front of Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 in Monroe, just north of Cincinnati. It burned to the ground during a thunderstorm. The “King of Kings” statue which had stood since 2004 was made of plastic foam and fiberglass over a steel frame. The frame is all that remains.
What’s amazing about this is not that it happened – lightning hits and burns things every day in summer thunderstorm season. What baffles me is our constant human urge to “make something” of these events, to reach and grope and assign some “higher” meaning to acts of nature. That was my first reaction, honestly. I saw this story this morning and I thought, “What does it mean?” I want to say, “accidental” of course. But something in me grapples for more. A few million people must be saying the same because this story is the hottest link on Google this morning. Amazing, isn’t it. After all the efforts to debunk Jesus and faith and the Bible and the entire Christian faith, we’re still drawn to stories that touch the topic, even ones that might signal its demise. If there’s a meaning behind “Touchdown Jesus” burning down I guess it’s this: The fact that the story matters is a sign itself!
“Jesus, you matter. One day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that you are truly Lord of Lords! The fact that we notice a lightning strike on an image depicting this truth – and in some corners chuckle about the irony of it – shows that deep down we know, we know it is true! You are King of Kings!”