Through the lens of a camera

Michelle Tennens

To those who were rejected and not my people, I will say to them, ‘You are mine!’. And to those who were unloved, I will say, ‘You are my darling.’ “

A quote from the book of Romans, chapter 9 verse 25 as read in the The Passion Translation of the Bible

These words, as seen in The Passion Translation of the Bible, were written originally by a prophet from ancient times called Hosea and then repeated by Paul, a leader of the early Church, in his letter to the Romans. He used them to demonstrate how the Gentiles, a people group considered outside of God’s mercy, were actually included in God’s plan for the world. It wasn’t an exclusive club after all; there was, and is, an open door to heaven for everyone!

Paul also reflected this idea in another letter, this time to the Hebrews. Again, in chapter 9 of that letter, he shows how the ‘Anointed One’, Jesus, had brought a yearly cycle of ritual cleansing and offering to a dramatic conclusion by becoming the ultimate sacrifice when He died on the cross. In doing this Jesus became the King-Priest, cleansing all sins and flinging open the gates of heaven to ALL, so that everyone could enter the holiest sanctuary of God and come face-to-face with Him. No barriers. No exclusions. This concept of acceptance was shocking to the Jewish world, where exclusivity and being seen to be better than others was common-place. Busting open heaven’s doors was not what the Jewish leaders had in mind for their exclusive club of the time.

Today, exclusivity and rejection like this does not so often look like one tribe lording it over another one. It is more subtle. It can come in the form of one up-manship on social media; status updates and selfies that outdo one another, that boast and proclaim superiority. It can leave so many people feeling too old, too plain, too boring, too quiet,  too afraid to share their real life. Flamboyant, self-broadcasting prowess has created a new self-styled chosen generation, where beautiful people with their carefully curated backdrops and lifestyle compete for likes, views, shares and domination. So often when I see this, like so many others, I become consigned to be the consumer of other people’s words, opinions, images and influence. It leads to self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness and rejection.

But, wait, let me speak out those words of Hosea again, in this time, to everyone who feels second-class and passed by, because I know better words and images that come from the King-Priest. Words that do not judge our media footprint on how many likes you have gained for your latest post. Rather, His acceptance is uncomplicated, untied, unconditional. Hear these words, written as a modern interpretation of Hosea and echoing the truth of God that Paul so passionately communicated in his letters. Words of hope and acceptance for ALL, for YOU, that reflects those of Jesus’ in a fresh way and given expression here and now:

“My spotlight is on you, my lens sees all of you, and it is beautiful.

The one I see is more breath-taking than you could ever imagine. There is no blemish, no accusations, just you, clean and pure. I see you alone, standing there in the pure light of my sight. And in you, I am well pleased.

I love YOU. Follow me.”

Words written as an echo of Jesus’ heart for you.