The Many Faces of Jesus

by Christine Sine

Christ as KingYou can probably tell from my reflections over the last few weeks that I am spending a lot of time meditating on the many faces of Jesus in different cultures, in different ages and in this post in different situations.

I have always been fascinated by how Christians perceive Jesus. It is interesting to me that early Christians (and the Celtic Christians we so much admire) saw Jesus more as a companion and a brother. It was only after the emperor Constantine became a Christian that the view of Christ shifted to more of an emperor figure. No surprisingly as Christendom took hold and wars became justified as holy wars we also started to see images of Christ as a warrior king.resurrection

The more I reflect on who Christ is the more uncomfortable I am with these images of Christ. In the gospels he is more likely to touch lepers and talk to tax collectors than he is to embrace the rich and the powerful. He is more likely to be seen in the face of a repentant beggar than in the face of a self righteous Pharisee. I would be interested to know what type of people and what situations most represent Jesus for you

Here is a poem I wrote a couple of years ago that reflects on some of my thoughts about who Jesus is.

Our God with a Human Face

In Christ Jesus God’s love is revealed
Our God with a human face divinity concealed
Even the simplest act God’s spirit divine
Ennobled and sanctified like water into wine

Born in stable, raised as a refugee
Compassion and caring in his actions we see
Friend of the outcast the broken the poor
In the faces of others god’s image he saw

The face of the father providing a home
The prodigal son who has chosen to roam
The love of a mother embracing her child
To these faces of God we are all reconciled

But a beggar who is hungry and needs to be fed
A refugee running from a war she has fled
All who are tortured, in suffering and pain,

The image of God in their faces remain.

Sharing the burdens of those who are poor
God’s image in others we seek to restore
Planting our mustard seeds, watching them grow
A kingdom that’s coming glimpsed now as we sow

Preaching the good news, proclaiming God’s peace
Healing the broken, bringing captives release
Enabling each person as God wants them to be
The image of God in their faces we see.

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0 comment

Johnny Brooks August 16, 2007 - 4:25 am

Great poem, thanks for sharing

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Penny of Adelaide AUSTRALIA December 14, 2007 - 9:31 am

The faces of our South Australian Aboriginal people, knowing the tragic and epic struggles they have endured and continue to face. When I read the description of Jesus in Isaiah 53 ” He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering, Like one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not” I think of Jesus as an Aboriginal man. I also see Jesus represented in the face of the African girl I cared for in Prem Dahn, one of Mother Teresa’s homes in Calcutta. Traumatised, mute and refusing food, on my last day in the home she suddenly erupted into a huge smile and reached for bowl and spoon. The pure joy of Jesus distilled…

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Vicki Curtain September 16, 2008 - 12:52 am

An interesting article. Growing up as a Catholic, I, too was always surprised by the martial, imperial pictures of Christ the king. I much preferred the Good Shepherd view of Jesus. It was not until i was well into my adult years that I learned that the Catholic feast of Christ the King was only promulgated in the 1930s, in response to the rise of totalitarian regimes, and the cults of personality surrounding Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Franco, as a reminder to Christians that their true king was none of these, but Jesus Christ.
It puts the feast into a different perspective.

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