I’m going to start with snippets from Wikipedia. Deal with it. ūüėČ

“The¬†Shroud of Turin…is a¬†linen cloth bearing the image of a man who appears to have suffered¬†physical trauma in a manner consistent with¬†crucifixion.The origins of the shroud and its image are the subject of intense debate among scientists, theologians, historians and researchers.¬†Some contend that the shroud is the cloth placed on the body of¬†Jesus Christ at the time of his burial, and that the face image is the¬†Holy Face of Jesus. Others contend that the artifact postdates the¬†Crucifixion of Jesus by more than a millennium.¬†Both sides of the argument use¬†science and historical documents to make their case.¬†The striking negative image was first observed on the evening of May 28, 1898, on the reverse photographic plate of amateur photographer¬†Secondo Pia.¬†In 1978 a detailed examination was carried out by a team of American scientists called¬†STURP. It found no reliable evidences of forgery.¬†In 1988 a¬†radiocarbon dating test was performed on small samples of the shroud, with 95% confidence concluding that they date from the¬†Middle Ages, between 1260 and 1390. Some controversy has arisen over the reliability of the test.¬†To date, the body image visible on the Turin Shroud has not been explained by science.”

Some believe that when Christ was resurrected his corpse emitted some kind of radiant power which acted like an x-ray or camera… and the shroud recorded his metamorphosis, something like camera film.

So here’s what stands out to me:

First, this thing is really, really cool no matter how you slice it. Do I want it to be Jesus’ image there on that cloth? You bet-your-boat’s-big-brown-barnacles, I do. But to be honest, I’m not sure what to make of it.¬†The mystery is part of the wonder of it all. I love that science has no explanation for how the image of whoever it was got emblazoned on the shroud.¬†Second, there’s a spiritual analogy waiting for me to exploit, and I’m going to do it. Right now. ūüôā
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I want to be a Shroud of Turin, Lord.

Oh Jesus, I want your resurrection power to radiate from within me and transform my soul. I want the ragged and imperfect fabric of my life to bear your image clearly enough that the world can see it. I long to live the kind of life that both ignites a mystery and invites a mythology of speculation and wonder. I want my life to defy the sterile explanations of science and even religion, forcing people to a place where they have to admit, “He clearly bears the image of Jesus, but we’re not sure how.” I want honest seekers to realize that the only workable explanation for my shroud must be that you are alive within me, that you must be real, and that they can know you, too. I want my shroud to cover me and reveal you, Lord.

But I want my shroud to capture more detail, so that people can see just how inspiring you are‚ÄĒyour patience, your grace, your strength, your courage. I want my shroud to be painted with vivid colour, so people feel just how captivating you are‚ÄĒyour creativity, your sacrifice, your holiness.

I want to be a shroud of Turin.

A real one.

A living one.

Yes.

But I’m afraid it’s my own image people tend to see on the shroud of my life. I’m pretty sure it’s my weakness they see, my sins, my faults. I fear that my temper has made it’s crude impression. My pride has rendered some notable strokes, along with my selfishness, my impatience, and a dozen other imperfections I don’t see in myself but somehow manage to find their way into the likeness on the shroud.

And I’m afraid that while I’m busy telling the world that Jesus is in me, they’re shaking their heads, saying, “But the image on the shroud is clearly you, not Jesus. All I see is you.”

Jesus is speaking to me now, reminding me of something. Somewhere between my fear and my prayer sits the truth: Both my image and his image are borne by my shroud, but neither are permanent or static. I have an opportunity, he says, to be a work in progress‚ÄĒa work people can watch take shape. Like the crowd pausing to take in the scribblings of a sidewalk artist. They can watch my selfishness fade, gape in wonder as it’s replaced by the fresh hue of servanthood. They can furrow their brow as my pettiness evaporates little by little, painted over with vision and purpose. They can nod with growing understanding as the expressions of my pride are transformed into strokes of humility.

And eventually, the likeness of me will strike them as familiar, though they may not know why. It will still be me there, on the shroud. But it will be a me that also looks like Jesus, smells like Jesus, feels like Jesus.

Perhaps that will be the answer to my prayer.

Amen?