ugly Jesus

i call you beautiful,
but it is only in my imagination.

you were one they called “ill-favored”
yet in favor none exceeded you.
you were the one they named “plain”
yet there is none more extravagant.
you were the one they deemed “unsightly”
yet you gave sight to all who asked.

ugly Jesus,
how is it that you should show me your beauty?
disfigured and disheveled,
perfect symmetry flees before the face of the Son of God.
your lips were not perfectly crafted,
no chisel was taken to your jawline,
your hair did not know the force of a comb.
your voice was neither slick nor smooth,
your hands rough and calloused,
your teeth stained by wine and age.

if you stepped into my home,
would i cling to you like Mary,
or be repulsed by the stench of a man who spent weeks in the wilderness without a bath?

“Who has believed what he has heard from us?
And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
For he grew up before him like a young plant,
and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men,
a man of sorrow and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

ISAIAH 53:1-3

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