Friday, November 10, 2006

The Face is a Lamp

“Omore taya.” It’s a Luo proverb. Luo is the second-most spoken language in Kenya. Cecil Murphey, co-author of 90 Minutes in Heaven, often heard the phrase while he was a missionary in Africa. Cecil is a smiling, compassionate man, and his love for others naturally shines through his countenance. So, the Kenyans often shouted at him, “Omore taya” meaning “A happy face is a lamp.”

The Online Etymology Dictionary says the word “countenance” means a "facial expression betraying a state of mind." As a very amateur photographer, I’m always delighted when I’ve captured an expression of one of my grandchildren that matches their heart-personalities.

Our family has a face-mood puzzel. The children have jig-sawed it together again and again. It depicts dramatic moods that alter the landscape of a face. The cardboard pieces show faces that are happy, sad, angry, frightened, worried, embarrassed, bored, silly, and tired.

The Bible has a lot to say about faces: “Cain was very angry” with his brother Able—ready to murder him—and he had a “downcast” face (Genesis 4:5). Joseph saw his brothers for the first time in many years, but they didn’t recognize him. Overcome, Joseph left the room, washed his face, and gained control over his emotions (Genesis 43:31). Moses’ face was radiant after being in the presence of God (Exodus 34:29).

The first Christian martyr Stephen looked at his false accusers and they saw that his face was like the “face of an angel” (Acts 6:15). Quite a few times, Jesus’ face is described as “the sun shining in all its brilliance” (Revelation 1:16).

Need a facelift? Spend time with God reading the Bible or kneeling in prayer, and like missionary Cecil Murphey gift your companions with the sight of a face lit from within.

This week as many of you make early preparations for the coming holidays with family, enjoy this blessing: “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you: the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace” (Numbers 6:24-26).

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1 comment:

  1. Wonderful vignette...thanks! We need more of these....but, have you grown weary of blogging? I hope not.