The Soft White Lie

By Richard Zane Smith

You come with a picture of your Jesus
It reminds me of the soldier
the old ones called 'Yellow Hair'.
(a vision from the muddy battlefield comes:
a white and gray swollen body
hair lying matted with blood and dirt.)
Your picture of Jesus makes me laugh inside
a face that has never tasted the northwind
hands too soft to hold a warclub.
Too many robes to run the silent forests.
This Jesus never sat by a smoky campfire
feeling cold and hunger, aching joints.
Such pale weak eyes would never see the evening.
He couldn't paddle all day in a canoe
or shoot a deer with a sinew backed bow.

I want to say to you,

'Your picture of Jesus is a bad one.
You insult Him with this lie,
Because I know Him.
He is a powerful warrior with Big medicine.
He walked the winds and stormy waves,
His voice broke the fury of the angry waters
and made the evil spirits flee.
He took the lash of tongue and whip
giving up His life without panic or hate.
He ran the gauntlet and died at the stake,
but His medicine was much too strong
Even death could not defeat Him.
He makes a path of light and power for my life.
He is the Mighty One, Creator of all.'

I hand the picture back and walk away,
inside I laugh, crushing it under the heel in the mud
(again, appears the vision from the battlefield:
I see Him again lying in stillness
matted hair with blood and dirt
a white and gray swollen body.)
I shook my head, someday I will have to tell them the truth.

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