The Color of Jesus: A Poem

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By Lindy Thompson

 

What does your Jesus look like?

 

Is he white?

 

Pale, pale skin.

Clear of blemishes, with a translucent quality.

Pure.  Holy.

 

Long, blonde-brown flowing hair,

shining like the models on TV.

Soft, flowing blonde-brown beard —

straight, not curly.

White, straight teeth.

 

Perfect, flawless hands,

held, with feeling, over the heads of the poor children,

blessing, coming close,

but not – quite – touching –

 

must remain clean and white

to do the clean and white Father’s work.

 

When you look into Jesus’s eyes,

what do you see?

Pale blue gaze

under smooth, tidy brows –

no overgrowth here,

just clean perfection

looking out from the only example of a perfect human

to ever walk this earth.

 

This Jesus, he can talk compassion,

but surely he cannot live it.

There is no way a person that perfect

would be willing to get his hands dirty,

would be willing to get down in the dust and trash,

would be willing to soil his beautiful self

to save a wretch like me.

 

*****

Jesus stands in front of a painting of himself —

an enormous painting,

huge, imposing, ornately framed,

attached firmly to the museum wall.

 

He stands, head cocked, gazing the portrait up and down.

The crowd of street urchins

who followed him into the museum

stand silently, watching him,

imitating the cock of his head,

the littlest ones clutching the hem of his tunic,

sucking their thumbs,

silent, content.

The guard looks disapprovingly at all the dirty feet.

 

Jesus admires the boldness of the piece,

the brush strokes,

the vibrant colors,

the dedication and skill of the artist,

the years of work and perseverance

shining through.

 

One of the solemn children whispers,

Who is that?

 

Jesus, brought out from thought,

looks down,

smiles at the little one,

his dark eyes twinkling,

extends his strong brown hand,

and off they all go,

the Savior and the saved,

heading for the park,

going off to play in the warm,

healing,

all -revealing

sun.

 

Lindy Thompson is a lyricist and writer who lives in Franklin, TN with her husband and three children. She writes congregational songs and choral anthems with composer Mark A. Miller, many of which are published by Choristers Guild. Her poetry will appear in several upcoming issues of Alive Now, a publication of the Upper Room. She is an active member of Christ UMC and blogs her poetry at lindythompson.net.

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