When Romans thought of becoming Christians, the picture of a Christ with flowing beard and body hair was unacceptable to them. The Greeks and the Romans considered men with grown hair and unshaven face to be barbarians. It is said that even in the war front, Alexander the Great took time to groom his hair and shave. The young and fighting Alexander was always portrayed in clean-shaven face.
The universal nature of Christianity has put great emphasis to accept the best of the local world and build their faith upon it. I have understood that in my own approach to faith. How can I disassociate myself from my motherland … disassociate from her language and arts, disassociate from her music and sounds? In fact, ancient fathers of faith blended their newfound faith in Christianity with their age-long roots in local arts and culture. This has brought in a magnificent history and colorful plurality to the universal Christian church.
As Christmas is fast approaching, one challenge that I face is to find and accept plurality within Christianity and plurality between different faiths. I thought that this Advent season, I will give room for this thought. Jesus came into the world for the whole of humanity. Hence, a catholic nature to Christian faith is an important dimension of its signature. But one can appreciate this universality of faith only when we probe into our own relationship with our personal faith. Only when we understand our standing in faith can we accommodate other’s ethos and beliefs. In a multi-cultural society like India, this is very significant.
In the above two paintings done by Sr.Claire, Child Jesus, Joseph, Mary and the rest of the flocks are all Indians!! Isn't that great !
Acknowledgements: Paintings were produced by St. Paul Communications for the promotion of Christian Indian Art