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Jesus the All Black

This image of Christ the All Black is on display in Wellington’s Anglican cathedral. It is in the traditional Christian iconic style. The artist, Don Little, said he had painted the piece after wondering if rugby was the new religion in a country that had largely turned away from religious belief. “The word ‘icon’ is being flashed around everywhere nowadays, so I just thought, ‘What is a New Zealand icon?'”

As if to reinforce Don Little’s point of the alienation of most from Christianity, alongside the article about Jesus as an All Black was the reporting of the Gospel of Luke being printed with a Rugby theme. The media called the Gospel of Luke a “Bible chapter”(sic) and a “New Testament chapter” (sic). Fascinatingly, even Catholic News online reproduces the blunder.

I have written a couple of posts connecting to Rugby and religion (here and here).

Is rugby being used in your community like a testament? So that, more than people entering the biblical story, rugby is a paradigm into which people are drawn to illustrate in sermon, pew sheet reflection, and magazine? You may see this as positive, negative, or neutral – but it is worthy of reflection…

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5 Responses to Jesus the All Black

  1. I thought the USCA gospel was very well presented. Our church has distributed copies to the congregation for sharing to the community.

    I also thought the commentary in the Press article about Don Little’s painting missed the point I thought they’d make. They talked about Jesus’ humanity and speculated if Jesus walked the earth today would he be a half back or a winger. I was surprised there was no comment made about rugby supplanting Christianity as state religion.

  2. Being human, and having entered the human condition, I am sure that Jesus played street games with his posse. But I think rugby too rough and tumble for street play and would imagine they played the less violent version, football.

    I wonder if Jesus was the type of boy who had to suffer being picked last?

  3. I love the evocation of the childhood of the writer of these lyrics, Rich Mullins, and making comparisons with the childhood of Jesus. Like, was he a ‘regular’ kid who might have skipped rocks across a creek or play-wrestled with a dog.

    It seems to me that some people have quite a problem picturing Jesus as a human being, like one of us. (another great lyric, ‘What if God was I(sic) one of us?’ – hey he already has been.

    “You was a baby like I was once
    You was cryin’ in the early mornin’
    You was born in a stable Lord
    Reid Memorial is where I was born
    They wrapped You in swaddling clothes
    Me they dressed in baby blue

    But I was twelve years old in the meeting house
    Listening to the old men pray
    And I was tryin’ hard to figure out
    What it was that they was tryin’ to say
    There You were in the temple
    They said You weren’t old enough
    To know the things You knew

    Well did You grow up hungry
    Did You grow up fast
    Did the little girls giggle when You walked past
    Did You wonder what it was that made them laugh
    And did they tell You stories ’bout the saints of old
    Stories about their faith
    They say stories like that make a boy grow bold
    Stories like that make a man walk straight

    And You was a boy like I was once
    But was You a boy like me
    Well I grew up around Indiana
    You grew up around Galilee
    And if I ever really do grow up
    Lord I want to grow up and be just like You

    Well did You wrestle with a dog and lick his nose
    Did You play beneath the spray of a water hose
    Did You ever make angels in the winter snow
    And did they tell You stories ’bout the saints of old
    Stories about their faith
    They say stories like that make a boy grow bold
    Stories like that make a man walk straight

    Did You ever get scared playing hide and seek
    Did You try not to cry when You scraped Your knee
    Did You ever skip a rock across a quiet creek
    And did they tell You stories ’bout the saints of old
    Stories about their faith
    They say stories like that make a boy grow bold
    Stories like that make a man walk straight

    And I really may just grow up and be like You someday”

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About This Site Welcome to this ecumenical website of resources and reflections on liturgy, spirituality, and worship for individuals and communities. It is run by Rev. Bosco Peters.

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