His Mom gets most of the good gigs, but Jesus likes to make an occasional cameo appearance. In keeping with the well-known theme that God works in mysterious ways, the Savior has popped up in a wooden fence in Lodi, California. His apparition has taken the form of a knothole in a residential backyard. Lodi, in case you didn't recall, was immortalized in 1969 by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Their song Lodi contains the refrain “Oh, Lord, I'm stuck in Lodi again.” The local Chamber of Commerce has declined, however, to promote the song as a municipal anthem.
Although Lodi is practically in my own backyard, I have decided against making a pilgrimage to see Knothole Jesus. Yes, I'm passing up the chance to see Jesus stuck in a fence. While the more credulous may need to see the divine splinters in person, the Lodi News-Sentinel has provided me with as much information about the woody apparition as any sensible person could want. Here's how News-Sentinel staff writer Ross Farrow reported the situation:
Ana Garcia was mowing her lawn last Friday when her sister, Emily, saw something odd on Garcia's fence in her backyard.Ms. Garcia is reportedly planning to get in touch with her local Catholic Church for an official investigation of her backyard miracle. I can just imagine the joy of the local cleric at being confronted with yet another mundane delusion. Priests and ministers work so hard to inculcate their doctrinal superstitions in their flocks, then face the embarrassment of garden-variety manifestations like this. The Catholic Church in particular, having sanctioned the apparitions of Lourdes, Fatima, and Guadalupe, has its hands full trying to quell its flock's enthusiasm for outbreaks of pareidolia. The Lodi event is one of those pesky cases of too much superstition. The credulity must be channeled and doled out in more manageable chunks—some of them bite-sized on Sunday.
“She said, ‘Ana, you've got to come over here,’” Garcia said. “‘What do you see?’”
Garcia replied, “Oh my God, that's Jesus!”
It may be said that Jesus is in the eye of the beholder. Some may swear it's a likeness of the Son of God on her fence on South Hutchins Street, while others will think it's just her imagination.
“It's bizarre, it's a mystery, but I'm a true believer that he's around us,” Garcia said.
The Lodi community is now squabbling over the significance of Knothole Jesus. The scoffers and believers are not always displaying Christian charity in their comments on the Lodi News-Sentinel website. Here are a few of my favorite remarks:
Stop being so negative! wrote on Aug 27, 2007 11:28 AM:I think perhaps Retired cop did not pay a lot of attention during his training on the rules of evidence, but I'll bet he was a great witness during criminal prosecutions. I thank Knothole Jesus that this particular peace officer is retired.
"I think this is a GREAT article for the front page! What's wrong with you people? Perhaps if you let GOD into your heart, you wouldn't be so negative. For whatever reason, Ms. Garcia has been blessed by this rare event."
I Want To Buy That Board... wrote on Aug 27, 2007 11:51 AM:
"I will be saved if I can buy that board of jesus! How much are you willing to sell it for? Price is no object because I can't take my money to heaven!"
Benita Hernandez wrote on Aug 27, 2007 6:44 PM:
"Only an no-believer can not see it...I can and God is watching over the ones who have fait and beleive in him....There should be no bad comments about Ms.Garcia cause she is only sharing this with us....Someone who is selfish would not share this and all she wants to let you guys know that there is a God and one day he may show up in the back of your yard.. but then it may be to late for you...."
Retired cop wrote on Aug 27, 2007 7:26 PM:
"To all you non believers, I went to look at the fence and saw the image of Jesus. All you need to do is believe and have faith. Obviously some of you are not believers hence the comments."