I grew up seeing many facial creams in my house. My sister, who was relatively darker than the rest of us in the family, used many creams and facial packs. Needless to say, I sneaked in to her room many times and got a fair share of facials. I think it was a struggle for her, that I got fairer than her using the same products.

It is a fact: many Indians hate being dark. They spend their salary on facial creams and body slimming products. There is even a practice of putting turmeric on the skin among north Indians during weddings. This helps in creating a ‘glow’, as they say, on the bride.

I have heard similar stories from my Asian American friends regarding their skin color and how it affects their social acceptance. They are more accepted the fairer they are. Colorism is prevalent in our society, where the tendency is to assign individuals to a racial category based on the color of their skin.

“Colorism is prevalent in our society, where the tendency is to assign individuals to a racial category based on the color of their skin.”

On the other hand, I have seen Indians using tanning beds to get darker and get accepted in to black community. In fact, my nephew embraced his skin color and started identifying as black in high school. This was a “terrible” thing, according to my sister – a sad reflection of anti-black colorism.

As a kid, I loved playing in dirt and rain – I loved the coarseness and realness of dirt. I remember my Sunday school teacher telling the creation story. She said “God created us from dirt. Look at us…our hands, legs… it is brown. That shows we are from dirt”.

We read that, in the beginning, God created humans “in his image”. But his broad canvas was made of dirt. Dirt is an invitation to come as you are. Dirt is not cheap in God’s hands. I’m not saying that brown is the original tone of creation. But it is what we read God’s spectrum of creation was based on.

“Dirt is an invitation to come as you are.”

God’s image is the standard of creation. He never applied that to any other creature. He kept it earmarked to make the best of all creations, human beings. Human was God’s undaunted expression of beauty and fervor. But, we tainted God’s image and glory. Paul says “He who has also put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 1:22)

A “seal” means authority and the fulfillment of a promise he made to all humankind. That is made possible through the guarantee of the Holy Spirit.

Remember that in creation, God’s hand reached down to touch dirt. As a side note, dirt is the most real expression of authenticity and ingenuity. But dirt is formed when water and sand combine. Water makes sand moldable. The amount of water decides the moldability and texture of the finished product. Water represents the Holy Spirit, the binding agent of God’s creation. God’s Spirit is the force behind creation. It works as the agent of change in us. It transforms our weaker nature to something stronger. The Holy spirit is the holding agent of God’s creation. Our inner person stands upright because of his Spirit.

“God’s Spirit is the force behind creation.”

The Holy Spirit transforms imperfections and misalignments in God’s image. Our conformity to his image is possible only through the Holy Spirit. When expectations of this world taint God’s image, the Holy Spirit reminds us of who we are. God’s seal is a stamp of divine possession. It is divine pre-acceptance in nature. It rectifies worldly lies and allegations. God has made all of us – even our imperfections – his possessions and considers those precious.

So, don’t forget how important is God’s caring over our capriciousness. He intertwines his purpose with our low nature. Glorious is the day when worldly reflections give way for something celestial. Even when my skin goes six feet under, I will rise up when the trumpet sounds yonder.

Take a minute to halt our race for perfection. Take a pass from the hustle of pursuing mortal idols and vainglory. That day, when the Holy Spirit ignites our souls, the mortal embraces immortal and corruptible embraces incorruptible. Get ready to fly and soar high.

Author

Ben Varghese is a South Asian minister and husband. He is a current student at Fuller Theological Seminary.

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