We were busy preparing our usual respected commentary on major international events when a news item in The New York Times crossed our desk and caused a shudder of foreboding and anticipation. According to this article, motorists in the Atlanta area have actually been seeing the face of Jesus Christ in a Pizza Hut billboard!
We looked closely at the picture of this giant forkful of spaghetti and, sure enough, in the middle of a thick clump of noodles is the clear image of a long-haired and bearded man. Could this be a sign of the Second Coming? The precursor of the end time? ZZ Top's next album?
Or is this just another cruel Madison Avenue hoax to subconsciously influence consumers into buying more of a particular product. ("Oh, and waiter, I'd like an extra order of garlic bread for my friend here, the Unseen Guest at Every Meal ...")
Atlanta residents have apparently been taking this sighting seriously, and one woman was quoted as having "changed her life" after seeing the Lord's face covered with noodles. (That would do it for me, too.)
Well, there is no doubt in our office that this is a significant sighting. Maybe not like the apparitions in other countries, but let's face it, Americans are not impressed by bleeding statues or Madonna paintings that shed real tears.
No. We Americans want to see market tie-ins in our holy visitations.
That's why this Pizza Hut thing is so inspiring. It's got product recognition. It's got media exposure. It's got solid market share. It's got good numbers all around. But what's the follow-up? What is the Lord trying to tell us?
Is he coming back now? Should we prepare a table for him (with some Parmesan cheese and extra napkins)? Is he looking for justice and redemption or just a quick shower and shampoo?