Purple Reminders

Lent this year begins with Ash Wednesday on Feb 14, and runs till Thursday, Mar 28.  Easter is early this year on March 31.  It will be here before we know it!

When I was trying to decide what to write for our newsletter this month, for some reason It came to my mind that the traditional liturgical color for Lent is purple.  Purple is a kind of special color.  Throughout history, purple has been understood as the color of kings and royalty.  Why is this so? Because throughout history, purple clothes have been worn almost exclusively by the richest in society due to the expense of creating natural purple dyes.  The natural ingredients used to make purple dye were extremely rare.  Phoenician dye, known as ‘Purple of the Ancients,’ is a famous example made from predatory sea snails.  Up until the 1800’s we had no synthetic dyes…they were ALL natural.

In 1856, 18-year-old William Perkin, a lab assistant at England’s Royal College of Chemistry, was tasked to create a chemical synthesis of quinine, which was used to treat malaria.  During his experimentation Perkin noticed while cleaning out a flask that a purple solution had formed – an observation which led to Perkin becoming one of the most celebrated chemists of the Victorian era. The purple substance was one of the world’s first synthetic dyes.

Even today, purple is not a common color.  You never see a purple street sign. You rarely see a purple car or house. I think I have owned one purple shirt in my life…back in high school.  Back in the 80’s If you were “preppy” you might own a purple IZOD polo shirt.

Mark tells us that Pilate had Jesus dressed in purple. This was mocking of   Jesus being called “the King of the Jews,” As the color of Lent, purple has become a symbol for Jesus’s reign, but also a symbol for his suffering—and a symbol for all  suffering: His, yours, and mine. So, is the Lenten color of purple magnificent or sad, majestic or mournful?  Lent seems to be a little of all of that, I guess. Traditionally, Lent has been a time to grieve our sins and thank God for His grace.  As we journey into Lent, I challenge everyone to put a purple object somewhere in your daily field of vision to remind you that this is a special season.

You can give something up for lent, and use that fact, along with the reminder from the purple object to focus on Jesus, and the fact that he died on the cross for your sins.

This Lenten season, whenever you feel sad, pray.  Whenever you feel angry, listen to Christian music.  Whenever you feel stressed, read your Bible.  Whenever you feel tired and burned out, or you miss what you have given up for lent, meditate about God’s goodness and all He has blessed you with.  God is so very good, and we have so much to thank Him for!

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you. –1 Peter 5:6

May the Lord draw you close as we head toward the Lenten season.

It’s good to be your pastor!

In the Lord’s service till the last fish is caught <><

Pastor Chris

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