Sunday. A day mostly associated with Christianity and the deep depression we go into around 6:00 PM when we realize the weekend is over, and we’re out of wine.

Sunday’s roots are mostly pagan, but early Christians were quite adept at taking pagan ideas and incorporating them into the Christian faith. It was a recruiting strategy, and it worked well.

As I ponder the historically significant events of the past week, I consider those events within the framework of the Christian faith. As a child, my grandmother would drop me off at Ms. Moody’s Bible class where I would learn the classic tales. Moses, Jonah and the whale. Daniel and the lions den. I vividly remember the portrait of Jesus on the room. Aryan Jesus. The blonde Nordic superman. Rutger Hauer Jesus. Of course that’s the sort of son God would want! Blonde, strong, sort of a viking look.

At some point in Christian history, people decided that was the ideal look, which of course means its opposite is the less ideal look. The Nazis took this bizarre notion to an extreme we will never forget. But I have no doubt Aryan Jesus, which likely began to emerge around the Renaissance, affected us and played a role in perpetuating racism. The irony is that the historical Jesus wouldn’t have looked anything like German Jesus. He was a Palestinian Jew that likely had dark skin and dark hair. In fact, he may have looked more like a Middle Easterner than a German.

Which brings me back to George Floyd. The story of Jesus is a story of sacrifice. In the Christian story, Jesus sacrificed his own life in order to save the human race. I think in some ways George Floyd’s sacrifice may be what saves us in 2020. I believe his death has forced hundreds of years of frustration and pain to the surface in ways we’ve never seen. The events of the past week will change us and hopefully for the better and perhaps have sharper focus on the parts of the Jesus story that are more important than his hair color. Those parts about compassion, love and mercy.


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