I'm applying to renew my passport; my present one runs out early next year, and now is as good a time as any to begin the process. My vicar will come by on Wednesday to countersign the photo which will accompany the paperwork, that it is 'a true likeness ' of me.
Wait! Surely I'm not that old-looking, care-worn, lined person who looks out at me from the small square of glossy paper in front of me. What a fright! I'm younger! More handsome! Please!
True likeness- ouch! I'd better get back to reality, and accept the fact that this is me. True likeness is close to the heart of the faith we profess, unwilling as we may be at times to embrace it. Firstly, that Jesus is a true likeness of God- which my experience of God over the years has led me to believe. See Jesus, see God. That, for me is the easy bit.
The harder bit is what follows from that. God's promise is that 'we shall be like him'; one of the outcomes of this Ascensiontide and Pentecost season is that we become 'divinised'- the life of Christ is poured into us, to make us more like the Jesus we read of in the gospels. Somehow I am becoming a 'true likeness' of Christ. Unreal and unlikely as it seems, and especially for me, knowing what goes on in my interior life. But this is the reality of the faith I profess, and I had better accept that this is me. Massive imperfections; still, after all these years wearing 'L' plates; but with the life and light of Christ in me, trying to show a true likeness of the life of God. It looks, from my point of view, a perfect fright, but there is the hope in me that God is at work in the mess, pulling some resemblance of Christ into a focus that the world can see.