May 2023

Last month, in reference to the school shooting in Tennessee, I stated my belief in the power of purple. With presidential race announcements, pundit firings, continued mass shootings, and
everything else that seeks to divide people, it is my opinion that we Christians need to encourage one another to claim that power. It is the color of unity, blue and red together.

As humans, we tend to determine our tribes by ideals, tastes, world views, race, culture, or life experience. We all do this, but a couple of things are wrong with this. First, once we become Christian, we must treat our neighbor as ourselves. We often hear this and become complacent about how to live this out. It is easier to treat our next-door neighbor, work colleague, or church family well than it is to expand our thinking of neighbor to include anyone near you, which is the biblical understanding of neighbor. Anyone who is near
you. Anyone at the grocery store. Anyone in your community, or your state, country…This means if you want to be treated with respect when you voice an opinion, then you give respect when someone voices an opinion that is opposite. It is not easy to do this, but it is powerful. It is purple.

Second, when determining our tribe, we forget that God calls us to a different tribe. It is a higher calling to be a member of Christ’s body than any other human tribe we associate ourselves with. Ephesians states, “As members of the body of Christ, to speak your truth. Not our ideas. Not our opinions. And not our thoughts, our preferences, but your truth to others around us in the body of Christ in love.” (Message translation) We are the Church along with our Catholic siblings, non-denominational siblings, Baptist siblings, Methodist, Lutheran, Church of Christ, Evangelical…you get the picture. In all its theological diversity, the Body of Christ is blended. If we came together putting aside our differences and just focused on showing the world Christ’s love, working for a just world, showing mercy, and walking humbly (humbly) with God, we would be powerful. We would be purple people (and if the song Purple-People Eater came into your head, push it out, lol). Powerful purple people!

Finally, Christ calls us to unity. Jesus prayed for us to have unity. Unity does not mean we all need to think the same about everything, like the same music, food, or picture God exactly the same. It does not mean we are all either red or blue or even yellow.
It means we, in our diversity, come together because we are united by the Holy Spirit, which ties us all together, and we come together for the sake of Christ who loves us and our neighbor. Jesus tells us this is how the world may know God sent him. Jesus tells us this is how the world will know that God loves them, even as God loved Jesus, only begotten, beloved Son.

Sticking with the Message translation, consider these words from 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, “You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly
the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which he has the final say in everything. (This is what we proclaimed in word and action when we were baptized.) Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body, refreshed and sustained at one fountain—his Spirit—where we all come to drink. The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or
free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive.”

Hmm, labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free, red or blue – are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive. Maybe something like purple! I believe in the power of purple! Brothers and sisters, holy siblings, it is at least worth considering. Amen?!