By Joel Hess –
So this past Sunday I said goodbye to my beard. Like Isaiah (Isaiah 50:6) before me, I suffered humiliation and persecution at the hands of the very same people I came to serve. They pulled at my whiskers, mocked my manliness and cursed my name, calling for Barabbas, the metro-sexual, to be released in exchange for me.
Well, maybe it wasn’t that oppressive. Still I ransomed my facial hair for cash for a new van. They complied and here I am for the time being: beardless. So I lament and ponder ‘was ist das?’
Now by beard, I’m not talking about the effeminate neatly trimmed creepy thing that looks like a manicurist painted it on.
That is not a beard. Only Prince is allowed to wear that. And I’m not talking about the unshaven look which is just that, unshaven; which is respectable but not a beard. For a beard to be a beard it must be at least 2 inches in length from the chin. I just threw that measurement out; but you know what I mean.
I was proud of my beard. And I shall bring it on back, in a few moons. Scripture refers to beards frequently. God frequently advises against trimming them and therefore encourages them. The million dollar question is not what came first, the chicken or the egg but…was Adam created with a beard?!
When scripture records the trimming or shaving of a man’s beard, it is either a sign of disrespect or the man is taking a vow connected to repentance. It is a sign of shame and humility, even nakedness.
And of course, every year youngsters cock their heads when the congregation recites Psalm 133 –
Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard
That’s not yogurt from breakfast friend; that’s anointing oil, bro! The psalmist is basically saying that’s a crap-load of God’s love and gifts: anointing. My cup runs over: the oil didn’t just dribble down a strand of hair, but there was so much it got into his beard, man! God is never chintzy. Yeah, I also have some thoughts about the silly amount of water we over reactionary Lutherans use for baptism.
Next time I’m with my brother(s) I’m definitely pouring oil (or Bulleit Rye Whiskey) over my head and beard!
The beard represents abundance and liveliness. When it is cut or trimmed it akin to being accursed. Surely, the paterfamilias should sport a beard as he sits down for some leg of lamb with his kin.
I am darn sure that my people listened a little more carefully to me with the beard. Their instinctual ascent to beauty caused them to nod their head. Now, they see my naked child-like face and think, “I took advice from him!?” It’s just like George Costanza’s mom after she learned her eastern mystic adviser was not Asian.
I suppose in these last days we men may shave our faces; but not to look purty, rather to repent fast and look forward to our Lord to be revealed and descend from the sky!
And then, in the new creation, no razor shall touch a man’s chin.