Larger than life

by Terry Camsey, Major – 

I read recently that Charlie Chaplin once entered a Charlie Chaplin Look-Alike Contest in Monte Carlo and was awarded third place by the judges!

It’s hard to believe but, I guess, few—including the judges—at that event had ever seen Charlie Chaplin in person and if they had seen him at all, it would have only been on the big screen or in a photograph.

And, when you think about it, both film and photographs would have been in black and white…and here was the real person in “living color.”

We are also not told whether the “look-alike” was to represent the real Charlie Chaplin or his screen persona. Certainly, the Chaplin I saw in the film Limelight was nothing like the funny little man with a cane, bowler and waddle who appeared in many comedies years previously.

Then again, many appear much larger than life on the screen. At least one of the “heart-throbs” of the silver screen appeared tall, yet actually stood on a box to give the illusion of height.

My dad was once stopped in the street by someone who thought he was Don Ameche (another handsome leading man of yesteryear). He wasn’t (to my knowledge!) but obviously was similar enough to confuse someone.

Even at the ARC where A/Captain Bill Bearchell and I provide the music, we are often confused for one another…someone will come up and compliment Bill on his cornet playing, or me on my pianistic ability. We are usually gracious about it and, rather than embarrassing the person giving the compliment, accept it on the other’s behalf. I guess that from a distance it’s an easy mistake, primarily because we are both of normal (short!) height and are challenged folically.

But, you know, we face a challenge in the real world where we have the responsibility to be like Christ to the communities we serve. It’s not a question of wearing a white robe, or a beard…it’s not even a question of having scars on our palms or in our sides. To be like Jesus involves far more than trying to resemble him physically.

In fact, it is probable that, in a Jesus Christ look-alike competition, the judging would have far more to do with our attitude towards the world…the compassion we show…the temperament with which we handle hardships and challenges…

I overheard someone say once that there are two reasons people don’t become Christians. The first is that they have never seen a Christian. The second is that they have! Both situations challenge us since, if there are those who have never seen a Christian it points to he magnitude of the ministry still to do. And, if they have and don’t like what they see, some deep self-examination is called for.

You see, it’s not enough to claim to be Christian if our actions and attitudes belie that claim—if what we are contradicts what we say we are. The issue is one of integrity and alignment with the teachings of Christ.

By their fruit ye shall know them…the Bible tells us. There is no fooling others.

To be like Jesus…individually and collectively we are to represent Jesus to the communities we serve.
Do we?

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