I was baking in the heat, (got to see what it would cost to get the AC fixed) and praying for the light to change so that some air would begin moving through the windows, when I saw Jesus. Actually, I saw His car.
This didn’t appear to be a storefront church, really. More of a shrine. The front window, facing the corner of the intersection, was dominated by a soft Shroud-of-Turin kind of image of Jesus, mounted on some kind of gold metallic foil.
Parked on the side street was a “warning from God” in the form of a 1993 Nissan Altima. I am not mocking anyone’s beliefs - this is, literally, what I was told by the man who drives the car and rents the store.
“Is this your car?” I asked when he appeared.
“Well it all belongs to Him, doesn’t it? Let’s just say He’s letting me use it.”
I learned his name is Jeff and he was very anxious to talk about the image of Jesus, which was reproduced in a variety of media, including on the postcards he took out of the Nissan and handed to me. “I took this picture with a Polaroid camera”, he exclaimed, “It’s an apparition!”
Jeff is a missionary of sorts who evangelizes a Catholic cult (I think that’s an appropriate use of the word) that is all about “miraculous” images of Jesus. He testifies that he was at some kind of a rally and snapped the Polaroid in which Jesus made His appearance.
Start Googling this and you will find that there is a whole Catholic sub-culture that is centered around apparitions of Jesus and Saint Veronica. Veronica is believed by some to have offered a cloth for Jesus to wipe his face, which miraculously produced an indelible image.
Apparently, (a deliberate choice of the word) the apparition of Jesus, Veronica or Mary has evoked a primeval reaction in some people who see the meaning of life in images which to the rest of us seem to be pictures that “didn’t come out”.
The particular image of Jeff’s that clearly shows a face is no photographic aberration. In my professional opinion, it’s a picture of a physical object – apparently (there’s that word again) a statue that Jeff didn’t see when he pointed the camera.
Jeff says that we are headed for WWIII followed by a comet smashing into the Earth (the comet is actually good news as it incinerates the poisonous nuclear residue from the war) and that those who are right with Jesus will be tucked away while all this happens. Then they will be put back on the cinder that is the Earth, where God will give them another chance to get it right.
Just as abruptly as he had appeared, Jeff told me that he had to go, and began an intense conversation with some people who I would describe as his followers.
All words and images copyright 2009 Jeffery Blackwell