Friday, August 31, 2007

Hail Who?

I'm going to start this post with an apology.
I'm sorry.
That is directed to anyone who might be offended by what I'm about to say.

A few weeks ago, on my way to work, I came up to a traffic signal (that over the years of driving the same route to work, I've learned that it's almost always red due to the timing). I glanced over at a billboard (actually you can't miss it), and much to my surprise I see the "Mother Mary" looking at me! No, it wasn't some weird trick of the rain water, or a reflection that made what "looked" like Mary, it was an actual billboard with Mary on it. She was pulling her shawl open (which at first I thought was her shirt!) to reveal a giant heart in the middle of her chest with some sort of crown and light emanating from it. Yes, I've seen this image a hundred times before (though I still don't know what the story is behind it - why is there a severed heart on the outside of her? Kinda gross). Then, in BIG letters it says "HAIL MARY, FULL OF GRACE" - in little small print at the bottom, it says something like "brought to you by God".
Well, everyday I drive past and look at this thing. All sorts of thoughts run through my head, such as: Why? Why did someone put this billboard up? Did they think that they might be offending other people? Did they care? It's not an advertisement for a church, so who benefits for this? God? Does God have his own Advertising Agency? etc...
In addition to these thoughts, I also got a little creeped out by the image. Mary does not look happy at all! I started to ponder the words too "HAIL MARY" - doesn't it say in the Bible, there shall be no god before me? If you "Hail" something is that the same as offering worship? I realize this is probably a Catholic thing. They seem to put a huge emphasis on her role. (I don't really agree with that, but I'm also not familiar with the catholics view on this).
ANYWAY - boy, I really rambled on there didn't I. But these have been my thoughts on all this.
The main reason I decided to post about it today, is because I looked over this morning and much to my surprise the message had changed! Someone (no it wasn't me!) spraypainted "Jesus" above the word Mary! And at the bottom where it said "Message brought to you by God" They painted "Why".
I know... what they did was wrong. If it were my Billboard, I'd be pretty upset. At the same time I think it's pretty funny and I totally agreed with the message of the "rogue Christian". Talk about a "moral dilemma" - Is it right to break the law in order to get the word of God out? I also wish that someone might go back later tonight and add a few more deities so that others are not left out... "Hail Buddah" "Hail Allah" "Hail Discordia" :)
I tend to think, this sort of thing is something maybe even Jesus himself would have done in his day. He was a bit of a trouble maker.
I'm going to try and get a photo of this before they either remove the billboard or paint over the graffiti.
(PS> the image above is one similar to the one on the billboard, its not the actual image).


Timothy said...

The person spray painting "Jesus" is wrong because that's not what the scripture says.

Luke 1:28 clearly says "Hail, Mary, Full of Grace" or "Hail, Full of Grace", depending on version.

The angel was addressing Mary and not Jesus. Clearly the graffiti artist loves Jesus but is unfamiliar with their Bible.

The artist is also wrong because his act was a form of theft, a violation of God's commandments.

God bless...

cyen said...

Hi Timothy! Thanks for your comment!
I'm going to respond if you don't mind :)
First off, I am horrible at Bible Quotes. I've never read it in its entirety but I feel like I have a general grasp of the major points.
So when I read your comment I was surprised! I had never heard this quote before. So I did a quick google search to see if I could find it. Oh boy, did this open a can of worms! :)
So, you said "Luke 1:28 clearly says... depending on version".
those last three words are the most frustrating thing (for me) regarding the Bible. It seems no matter what stance one wants to take can vary so much "depending on translation".
I found this link:
Which in a nutshell says that the ONE translation (the latin vulgate) that uses these words "Hail, Mary, Full of Grace" is "wrong".
I think too we have another "translation" issue too... The word "hail". It can mean two different things (three if you count the ice balls that fall from the sky:).
Hail is simply a form of saying "hello" or greetings. But I think now-a-days it has a more formal religious meaning to it. To Hail something sounds more like a worship, or praise. (except for Taxi's). The way the billboard was designed, I tend to think this was the intent... it was instructing me to Praise Mary - and I think this is what a lot of non-catholics may have a problem with.
Don't get me wrong... Mary was a special person! But, the idea of praising her instead of God (to me) seems wrong.

Lastly - I don't think the graffiti artist was committing some form of theft. But I totally agree that he detracted from the value of the billboard. But that leads me back to my original post in saying that although he broke the law, is what he did morally wrong? I'm not sure.

As always, thanks for reading my blog and I'm open to additional comments.

valejandras said...

here's my take... you're silly... hee hee.


cyen said...

V - True! :) No need to google that point :)