We are concerned that we not lose face. When we think of this, however, we are thinking in figurative terms. We do not want to be embarrassed or have others think less of us. To lose face is to deface our identity. To lose face literally is another matter. A horrid, unthinkable matter. And yet, it has happened.
The idea’s first appearance was probably in George Franju’s 1960 cult horror film Les Yeux sans visage which translated to English means, “Eyes Without a Face.” Shortly thereafter Kobo Abe, a Japanese author and playwright wrote about a plastics scientist who lost his face in an accident and as a result molded a new face for himself. This work which was published in 1964, was called, “The Face of Another.” In 1966 it was made into a film. In 1997 another film was produced which is probably better known than the former works. It was called, “Face/Off” and was based on a face transplant operation that involved removing the face of a donor, giving the recipient an immediate and complete change of identity.
These were the harbingers of change for the medical community. It began with replants and moved on to transplants. In 1994 a 9-year-old by the name of Sandeep Kaur had her face ripped off when her hair was caught in a thresher. Her mother gathered up the pieces of her face, put them in a plastic bag and rushed her to the hospital. The long operation was a success although the girl did suffer some muscle damage and scarring. In 2005 medical science moved to the next level when Bernard Devauchelle had her face ripped off by her pet dog necessitating the first partial face transplant.
The procedure has been replicated many times around the world. The world’s first “full” face transplant took place in Spain in 2010 on a man who was injured in a shooting accident.
A more dramatic face lift takes place when a person turns from sin to serve Jesus. A transformation of the person’s essence takes place which theologians call regeneration. The image of God in man which was marred in the fall is restored. Paul described it as a “new creation in 2 Corinthians 5:17 when he said, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” This will be the focus of our lesson. A new face – off with the old and on with the new.