by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 3/27/14

For the past few weeks, I have been using the metaphor of the dark room to think about Lent. Photographers capture light in the darkness, creating an image of the scene. They carefully develop the image until something like art comes to be.

We, too, have seen a great light. During this season of Lent, we carefully attempt to develop the image of Christ in our lives. I have a friend who is both a theologian and a photographer. He reminded me this week about the curious problem that analog photographers experience, the occasional double exposure.

Double exposures happen when two or more scenes are captured to create a single image. Sometimes these double exposures are intentional; other times they are purely an accident.  When images are doubly exposed, two overlapping realities are present in the picture. Maybe this is a bit like the Kingdom of God. Could it be that when it comes to the image of God in our lives, we, too, are doubly exposed? Are we composed of contrasting images of what our lives should be? Could that explain the Apostle Paul’s inner struggle in Romans 7?

I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree that the law is good. But in fact it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells within me, that is, in my flesh. I can will what is right, but I cannot do it. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells within me. So I find it to be a law that when I want to do what is good, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God in my inmost self, but I see in my members another law at war with the law of my mind, making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members.

Maybe we are all double exposures, divided in some way. Maybe we are all composed of the image of God and its inverse. Maybe we are all sinners and saints, sacred and profane. But rather than feeling exposed, know deeply that we are anchored in the image of God. Maybe Jesus doesn’t have to come “into our hearts,” as much as be lived out in the images in our lives.