We once lived in an area with a significant second-home population. Many of these second-home folks are people with money who worship youth; the problem is that like everyone else they grow old. Many of the women, having money, take facial Botox treatments; the result of which can be facial skin stretched to the point that there is not a line or a wrinkle; the facial appearance is as if the skin is enveloped in plastic wrap; consequently many of the ladies look the same. It is not unusual to meet a husband whose face shows the signs of a life lived with a wife whose face shows no signs at all.
A few years ago on a cruise we had table mates of the same description; the incongruity between husband and wife was pronounced, both facially and in terms of the way they dressed – she fought the opportunity to age gracefully by dressing like a kid.
Of course men are subject to the same vanity and denial of the fact that the death rate in this country is 100% - I don’t think for one minute that women engage in this dance of deception anymore than men do, but I’m using women as an illustration to ask the same question of both men and women who worship youth, “How can we ever know who we are if we deny who we are? How can we know who we might be if we deny who we are, or if we artificially change who we are by attempting to look and act like a younger generation when we are not, in fact, part of a younger generation?”
The plastic face is not simply an outward lack of expression; it is a sign of a lack of inward substantive expression. I suppose, on reflection, we are a society of plastic faces; we are to look the same, speak the same, think the same.
While the world is the world is the world in respect to the worship of youth and the denial of aging and death, what about the professing church? We have our own plastic faces and fixed expressions…and we tend to see them more often than not on Sunday mornings.