Submitted by Andy McIlvain.
You and I have a unique and singular face. We have been seeing it in a mirror since we were young. We have watched it change as we age.
We see the faces of other people; they see ours; we respond to what we see or do not see. A smile makes us smile, while a sad expression makes us sad. We, as humans, have a unique ability to respond and understand facial expressions. Faces or images of them come to us as persons and reveal their mentality, health, language and personhood.
Mark Johnston, in Surviving Death, calls our face/head “the area of presence and action.” It is in our brain that all the senses are located. Our Soul and Human Spirit are invested in our brains and through sight, hearing, and taste perceive the world.
In our world of six billion other faces, your face is unique. It reveals your personality, your genetic and cultural identity. Your face is the living expression of you. The average person sees anywhere between 90,000 and 42.5 million faces in their lifetime – likely something closer to 3 million – and remembers about 3,000 according to David Bellamy, a population researcher.
One of the great sins of our time is that humans, faces and bodies, have been reduced to objects of exploitation through pornography and other means of degradation. We must never lose the practice of attentiveness to the face and eyes that reveal the very soul of those to whom we speak and relate.
David Ford explains the significance of our face in Self and Salvation: Being Transformed, “Christianity is characterized by the simplicity and complexity of facing: being faced by God, embodied in the face of Christ; turning to face Jesus Christ in faith; being members of a community of the face; seeing the face of God reflected in creation and especially in each human face, with all the faces in our heart related to the presence of the face of Christ; having an ethic of gentleness towards each face…”
C.S. Lewis said, in “The Weight of Glory”, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals, whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”