Saturday, April 15, 2017

I Am Certain That Jesus Was Not That

I am certain that Jesus was not that
person walking down a dusty road
in an immaculate robe, in Cinemascope

that he was not could never be
whatever it is that you think he was
while worshipping before altars

ornamented in gold.
he was a quieter gold.
he cherished the heart of people,

things. small flowers on the hillside.
the olive groves.
I know he has been depicted otherwise

but Jesus in my heart
never wears this disguise.
he is all candlelit within, his own

secret Christmas.
this I thought as a little girl.
when I felt his presence on

every wind.
and in my Easter frame of mind
when the air is heavy with springtime

I think of him as I knew him then:
King of the beautiful,
and my friend.

mary angela douglas 15 april 2017

Note on the Poem: Although the poem in some way critcizes the depiction of Jesus in the movies I do want to add that I admire every effort made whether in film, literature or song to depict Jesus. And there is something valuable in every depiction. My favorite movie of all those made in the 1950s and early 1960s is the film Barrabus. Fantastic in every aspect, a fictionalized account of the life of the thief whose life was spared instead of Jesus according to the Gospels and the custom of the time. There is a moment in that film where Barrabus on his way out the prison door comes across Jesus who has his back to the camera and is in sorry shape just beginning to shoulder the cross. Jesus catches his eye and you can infer in an incredible way the expression of Jesus face as he looks at Barrabus by the reflected glory in the actor Anthony Quinn's face. An incredible moment in the history of depictions on Jesus on film and in the annals of acting. In this one scene where we only "see" Jesus by the response of Barrabus and his emotional response mirrored in his face we have, I believe, the truest depiction of the character and personality and magnaminity of Christ. It is simply astonishing.