“Homeless Jesus” Sculpture coming to The Church of the Palms campus

It is a seven foot bronze sculpture by Timothy Schmalz entitled, “Homeless Jesus”, which depicts Jesus sleeping on a park bench. We are in the process of obtaining this piece of art this summer/fall.

His face and hands are obscured under the blanket; the only clue to his identity is the crucifixion wounds on his feet. The designer of the sculpture is Timothy Paul Schmalz, a Canadian sculptor and a devout Catholic.

The original sculpture was installed at Regis College, University of Toronto, in early 2013. Over 100 casts of the statue have been installed worldwide since 2016—none in the Southwestern U.S.

The statue has been described as a ‘visual translation’ of Matthew 25 in which Jesus tells his disciples, ‘as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me’. The statue tells the story of Jesus and His ministry. Rather than a ceremonial robe, he had a blanket; he identified with the poor and outcast and for his challenge to religious hypocrisy he was executed.

Homeless Jesus, and its spot in the limelight, demonstrates how religious public art plays a role in promoting the ideas of an equitable society. Herbert Marcuse, said, “art that offers alternative perspectives and challenges social norms, can create spaces where people can identify and question oppressive social patterns.”

Homeless Jesus exemplifies how religious public art can communicate a religious belief in a manner that is respectful of and intelligible to a diverse secular audience.

Religious public art can be an avenue for faith-based organizations to meaningfully contribute to the bettering of social life.

The presence of the sculpture, Homeless Jesus, on the campus of Church of the Palms would be a continual reminder that Jesus identified with the poor and outcasts of society, not the rich or powerful. The presence of the sculpture would give authenticity to The Church of the Palms as a community of faith that expresses its concern for the marginalized and measures its actions by that standard.

We are hoping to add this piece some time in the summer/fall. Final placement has not yet been determined. We have received a special gift which will match every gift toward this project. We will be asking for donations in the next few months.

Questions? Ask Max Klinkenborg or Pastor Paul.