Exit Through the Gift Shop

Written by Anthony Douglas on 06 May 2018.

JusticeThe other day I listened to a man who lost his sister during the attack on the World Trade Centre as he expressed his fury that the museum now built on the site includes the obligatory gift shop. It was easy to understand his sentiment. It felt like his sister’s death, his family’s grief, was being exploited for commercial gain.

It raises the obvious question. Why do museums and art galleries always operate a gift shop? Of course, we know it’s for revenue purposes - but that only pushes the question back upon us, the customer. Why do we keep spending money in gift shops at the end of our tour? There’s no necessary connection between viewing an exhibit and buying a vaguely related trinket, so what possesses us to possess a piece of what we saw?

I suspect it expresses, among other things, a deep-seated belief that the physical makes things real. Memories fade, but if I have a copy of the book that was compiled for that art exhibition, I can refresh them. If I keep a postcard of that particular item, I can remember how it made me feel.

And that is why it is so marvellous that Jesus came in the flesh. He put on a physical form so people would know that he really came, and he felt nails in his flesh so we would know he really died our death. He rose in a glorified body so we could be sure that he reigns for eternity.

There’s no justice? Then how can we explain away the scars that he still bears today? The proof of God’s justice is written in the flesh of his own Son, and who could argue with that? Under the sun, our justice fails, but under the Son, God’s justice reigns.

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