I think the first color movie I ever saw was the Wizard of Oz. I have to confess I did not like it then and I still don’t. (However, it is a wonderful tearful experience to hear Judy Garland sing “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”) Before this it was black and white Keystone Cops. In kindergarten in church one of the reasons I loved the Bible story pictures was they were always in color. But I have to say what I heard about Jesus was in black and white. If I was a good boy and obeyed all the rules I might be saved. It was scarier than fake Halloween ghosts. Jesus was Santa making a list and checking it twice to see if I was naughty or nice.
Then one day I learned the truth about Jesus. He wasn’t Santa in the sky. He was my savior and the story turned from black and white into color. It was wonderful. “The gift of God is eternal life.” Now as I have many more miles behind me than in front of me something grand is happening to the story. It is now in high definition. The colors of Jesus’ story are sharp and clear and densely pixilated.
When I think of my childhood version of Christianity I am horrified at the heresy we often teach children. It is no wonder so many children leave the church when they are teens. The world is in color while what we teach about Jesus is in black and white. The Gospel story, the Good News, really is in dazzling color. When understood that we have the assurance of eternity because of God’s love, life becomes vivid, almost flamboyant.
Written by Roger Bothwell on April 20, 2016
PO Box 124, St. Helena, CA 94574