The Stories of the Children of the Hapag
by Joey Velasco
This painting is Filipino-inspired one, depicting Jesus surrounded by poor Filipino kids from the streets. The painter Joey Velasco conveys the message that each of this kid has a unique story to tell to Jesus on the table. Then as he was struggling to look for the appropriate title of the book which tells the story of these poor children, a mentally-deranged woman enlightened him as he showed him this painting. “You know my friend, they are actually not poor…” the woman said to him. “What??? You’re the only one who said that.” Joey remarked. But the woman continued, “because they have Jesus.”
And what a treasure indeed! It is not a wishful thinking, because Jesus is really present in the lives of the poor. In fact he is more real there.
Joey Velasco commented of Jesus in his painting.
“He was dead weary in that painting, that was why he was brought by the kids to sit and eat. He was served the best food and they wanted Him to rest. Who among us approaches Christ with the desire to let Him rest a while? Usually we call on God because we want something. We are the ones who want rest. We are tired. There are pure and innocent people who might think this way. They want to give something to Him. Who among us will go to a church and kneel down and change the God-I-need-something formula of prayer? Can we also say, God do you need something? Even if He doesn’t need anything because He is God. Is there anything I can do? I kneel down. Lord I’m here…[Is there anything I can do for you?] When did you call a friend and say out of the blue. “How are you buddy? Can I do anything for you? You need anything? When was the last time we did that? In the meal, we are the ones served by God. When did we organize a meal that our only motivation was to celebrate it with God and serve God saying, “Lord, what can I do for you?”
Junjun’s review of this book:
This is an amazing book, not a fiction but based on a real story…with the author’s personal interview with each of those kids on the painting. I have read it, and shed not only few drop of tears but many. When I finished reading it….I was really convinced, “They have Jesus.”
At the University of Chicago Divinity School each year they have what is called ‘Baptist Day.’ On this day each one is to bring a lunch to be eaten outdoors in a grassy picnic area. Every ‘Baptist Day’ the school would invite one of the greatest minds to lecture in the theological education center.
One year they invited Dr. Paul Tillich. Dr.Tillich spoke for two and one-half hours proving that the resurrection of Jesus was false. He quoted scholar after scholar and book after book. He concluded that since there was no such thing as the historical resurrection the religious tradition of the church was groundless, emotional mumbo-jumbo, because it was based on a relationship with a risen Jesus, who, in fact never rose from the dead in any literal sense.
He then asked if there were any questions. After about 30 seconds, an old, dark skinned preacher with a head of short-cropped, woolly white hair stood up in the back of the auditorium. ‘Docta Tillich, I got one question,’ he said as all eyes turned toward him. He reached into his sack lunch and pulled out an apple and began eating it. ‘Docta Tillich.. CRUNCH, MUNCH ‘My question is a simple question,… CRUNCH,MUNCH… ‘Now, I ain’t never read them books you read..CRUNCH, MUNCH..’ and I can’t recite the Scriptures in the original Greek…CRUNCH, MUNCH …’ I don’t know nothin’ about Niebuhr and Heidegger… CRUNCH, MUNCH… He finished the apple. ‘All I wanna know is: This apple I just ate, . . . . . . was it bitter or sweet?
Dr Tillich paused for a moment and answered in exemplary scholarly fashion: ‘I cannot possibly answer that question, for I haven’t tasted your apple.’ The white-haired preacher dropped the core of his apple into his crumpled paper bag, looked up at Dr. Tillich and said calmly, ‘Neither have you tasted MY Jesus.’
The 1,000 plus in attendance could not contain themselves. The auditorium erupted with applause and cheers. Dr. Tillich thanked his audience and promptly left the platform.
Have you tasted Jesus? Savour HIS Words for you today.