When Sam was just a few months old, he loved the picture of Jesus and the children on our bedroom wall. He’d smile brightly as I pointed to Jesus, and then the children, as I said, “Boy, boy, girl, girl, girl” (or the reverse). It always seemed like he recognized Jesus, you know, from Before. Like they’d met.
A few months ago, an article went around FB about an artist who created a more accurate picture of Jesus, based on forensic-anthropological evidence (above). This Jesus was chocolate-brown, not some rosy-white color.
Yesterday this article came to mind again as I thought about this process of changing my God image. A friend sent me this picture of the Last Supper with black women, and a few black men in the background, and one older white woman. I loved it. It reminded me that I still think of Jesus as Jewish-but-white, due to all those white-o-centric paintings I grew up with. (I know some will still be shaking their head over Jesus depicted as a woman, but I don’t think Jesus himself minds. And these women could have been his supporters and traveling companions spoken of in Luke 8:1.)
We all know that God is spirit, yet still, we have images sometimes of what God, Jesus and the angels will look like when we get to heaven. Well, maybe every one will be kind of light-y invisible-ish, but what if Jesus has brown skin even now?
And so, isn’t it time to get a picture of a brown Jesus? To look at it with my children every day so they really get it? Sam loves an African version of “The Night Before Christmas.” He has no issues with a brown Santa. I think he’d recognize a brown Jesus, too, maybe better than that white impostor on the wall.