Monday, July 28, 2014

The Color of Jesus

By Abigail Dibadj

Pastor Doug from Canada preaches while Serge translates
This morning we headed out to participate in a church service. Here is what stood out to me.

Throughout this entire week one thing that has continued to impress me about the Rwandan people is their ability to know many languages. A twenty-one year old worship leader I met after church told me he knew five languages fluently and was also learning Portugese on the side. As soon as he told me this I was embarrassed of myself. I have taken spanish for four years in school and I am far from fluent. What was also embarrassing was my country. How ignorant are we as Americans to consider our language English so above other languages that we dare to not learn another. 

Well, rant aside, the service also included the mixing of languages. While someone was talking in English, another leader of the church would talk in Kinyrwandan and vice versa. The mixing of languages is beautiful in how people who do not understand each other in words can worship the same God together. As the leader of the church stated “It does not matter what language we praise in. This is worship.”

For church this morning a guest from Canada, pastor Doug, delivered his sermon. During his sermon he held his white arm up against Serge’s and asked the congregation “Was Jesus black or white?” The way he presented this question shocked me. Why would he point out their obvious differences in color when the church leader had just said earlier how we are all children of Christ? Aren’t we supposed to overlook our differences in the church or is this just our American culture? I don’t know. 

So although the presentation was shocking, the question was one that made me think. Jesus’s color of skin really is meaningless to me. In my eyes, Christ is never pictured as black or white, the color of his skin does not matter or define him. Jesus’s color resembles his attributes. To me Jesus is red for the love he shares, white for his forgiveness, purple for his overwhelming grace, and yellow for his humility. Jesus is my rainbow of colors. Jesus is both black and white. 
The team sings "Mighty to Save" to close the church service


  1. The last paragraph of this post is so insightful. It would be cool to have a roomful of people answer the question, "What color is Jesus?" and see what comes forth. I wonder how many would suggest a rainbow, as you have here.

  2. Who posted this one? Was it you or Jen or one of the kids? Pretty good message.

  3. Your days are so diverse and full. I'm glad you are able to do and see so much. Have a great week.

  4. Nice point. Why do we have to categorize him with a skin color?
    On a side note, love the dress Ellie. Glad to see you are wearing it!

  5. Good job Abigail! I love that while you are there thinking, you are also asking us to think about these questions too. Rainbow Jesus is a beautiful definition.
    p.s. I'm also ashamed at American's attitude of "when you're in America, speak English", but when we travel to other places we presume that they'll know English. Poor form! Your four years of spanish tell me that our schools get hung up on "proper" language, and it might be beneficial to just teach "conversational". Hmmmm....
    Tina Rudins

  6. ahh, this is Abigail. Thanks for putting your name to it. Makes sense, I know you are absorbing so much, always trying to gain a better understanding. We are very proud of you and everyone there. Keep it up.

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  8. Abigail,
    I love in your last paragraph: "Jesus is my rainbow of colors". For me, as an old guy and from an old church and upbringing, I always saw him as white. But now, I believe you are correct.


  9. Gail I miss you dearly and this was great to read! The girls and I were recently talking about the gender of god, and I thought that this conversation relates to your post completely. Some people view god as a female, some view him as black or white, but what we see in god are his attributes and characteristics much more than his physical being. I bet is was interesting to hear from people who had a different image of god. It really makes you realize how he is always among every one of us no matter where we are. Sounds like the trip is going great and can't wait to see ya