The Color of Water

How does Chapter 6 function as a comic relief?

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In Chapter Six, James remembers his mother in church, singing off-key. She was a devout Christian, and particularly enthusiastic about ministers, since her first husband had been an excellent reverend. James states: "as a boy I knew God was all-powerful because of Mommy's utter deference to Him." The only time he ever saw her cry was in church. Her tears worried him, but she said that she was crying because God made her happy. When he asked her point-blank if God was black or white, she answered that he had no color - he's a spirit: "God is the color of water. Water doesn't have a color." Reverend Owen was the minister of the church Ruth and her husband had founded while James was growing up, and he recalls Richie, his older brother, challenging the minister about the color of Jesus. When Reverend Owen failed to give him an adequate response, Richie insisted Jesus was gray, and stopped attending Sunday School after that. James also offers a humorous retelling of an Easter Sunday where his older brother Billy needed to recite a Bible story. He blanked in front of the congregation. When the Deacon said it was alright and to just recite any Bible verse, Billy paused and then said, "Jesus wept." Their mother was furious.