A bedtime tale.
“Okay sweetie, time to say your prayers.” The little boy kneeled at the side of his bed, turned his head toward his palms as he pressed them together and squeezed his eyes tight. Just as his mother was leaving the room, his concentration broke. He turned quickly to catch his her before she reached the door.
“Mom, what did Jesus look like?” he asked as if all of a sudden he didn’t know who his prayers were going to.
“Well...” his mother turned toward her son, walked back and sat on the bed beside him. She looked lovingly into his deep brown eyes, and ran her fingers through his loosely curly brown hair, then paused as she rested her hand on his caramel colored cheek. Finally she tapped him on his wide nose and smiled, “he looked a lot like you.”
“He did?” The little boy delighted as the picture of his spiritual hero formed in his mind.
“Yes, he did. Jesus lived in a time and place where people looked a lot like you do. They had curly brown hair, warm sun-touched skin, and brown eyes, and wide noses just like you.”
“How come Christopher’s house has a picture of Jesus that has blue eyes and white skin like his?”
“Well, sweetie, everyone wants their god to look like them. It’s one of the reasons the world has so many different and amazing religions. But for a long time one group of people wanted everyone’s god to look like they did. They knew that if people sought direction and guidance from a god that looked white like them, then people would more easily take direction and guidance from white people instead of themselves. Do you understand what I mean?”
“Sort of. You mean, if I pray to Jesus and he looks like me, then I’m going to believe in myself the way I believe in Jesus. But if he looks like Christopher then I might believe more in Christopher than in myself.”
“Yes, that’s kind of what it was like back then.”
“That sounds bad. I like believing in myself.”
“I know you do honey. But Christopher needs a role model too. That’s probably why he has the picture of blue-eyed Jesus in his house.”
“Should I tell Christopher that he is wrong?”
“Of course not, sweetie. We don’t believe that people are right or wrong about religion. That kind of thinking caused lots of terrible things to happen in the past- wars, murder, slavery… terrible, horrible things. Now, we have learned that everyone has the right to believe in their own path, because we know that there are so many deep connections between the religions that they all have something valid to teach their followers and each other. That’s why we have books on so many different religions downstairs.”
“Yeah, I like reading about all the different ways that people believe in God.”
“God is pretty great, huh?”
“Yeah, God can be everything to everyone- I guess that’s what makes God, God though.” The boy laughed.
“That’s right, honey. God is everywhere. We should never doubt the infinite wisdom of God that created so many religions to serve so many wonderful, beautiful, different people.”
“Okay. I am going to thank God for that tonight in my prayers. I’ll say, ‘thank you God for being so wise, and so welcoming and flexible for everyone on the planet. Thanks for making so many ways for us to love you.'”
“That sounds perfect. Now, finish up and go to bed, you have school in the morning and it’s Asian American Artist Day and you’re doing your presentation on Byron Kim.”
“Yeah, I’m excited about that, he’s soooooo cool. Goodnight mom.”
A New Day has Dawned.
We can't believe how much America has turned around! Every week we'll bring you a new story of how our fair country has become more...fair.
Have you had similar experiences in this new racism-free world? How has your life changed? Share your stories with us, and we'll put them on the blog.
One Love (for real this time),
Jamal and Tamika
Dec 10, 2008
A bedtime tale.