I once wore a very pale yellow bridesmaid dress in a spring wedding and it was not a good look for me. In fact, I was fairly invisible walking down the aisle because the paleness of my dress emphasized the paleness of my skin. Yellow is not my color.
Someone named Becky G. researched why yellow is considered the color of cowardice here and – whatever the deeper meaning of the color yellow might be I prefer bold colors. Give me hot pinks and blues and greens. They bring out my eyes.
I would like to think of myself as a bold person, but I confess before you and God that I’ve often been more afraid of my parishioners than God. I am a coward on most days. (I seriously remember where boldness got Jesus.)
Many of our pastors are only bold when we know our congregations already believe what we are proclaiming from the pulpit. Some say that it’s best to “preach purple” when we know that our pews are filled with a variety of political persuasions. The Bible is an equal opportunity offender and there’s already something to offend everybody in Scripture. But I find that preaching purple rarely pushes God’s people to be bold in faith. God is calling disciples – and not just professional preachers – to speak up.
What does Scripture tell us about how to treat “the least of these” whether they are children at the southern border of the United States or homeless veterans living under a bridge or elderly people living in isolation in rural America.
But we don’t wish to offend. We especially don’t wish to offend the people who pay our salaries. We don’t want to offend co-workers or family members or even those who live under the same roof with us.
The world is not okay and I’m challenging myself – and you – to be bold at least one time this week in the way we speak and in the way we live.
- There are children living in terrible conditions at the southern border of our country. This is not fake news.
- There are millions of people who are not benefiting from the same economy that’s making wealthy people wealthier.
- There is mind-boggling opioid abuse in small towns in my state and in yours.
- There is universal bad behavior in the form of verbal bullying and words that break apart rather than build up.
If it helps to consider being bold because it’s patriotic so be it. It’s patriotic to lift up the Declaration of Independence which says: we hold these truths to be self-evident: that all (people) are created equal. It’s patriotic to work for an economy to benefit all Americans, for example.
But – beyond patriotism and politics – for those of us who claim to follow Jesus, it’s faithful to lift up Scripture which tells us that all human beings are created in the image of God. It faithful to work for an economy to benefit all God’s children, for example.
Are we willing to be bold out there and speak up when our leaders, our congregations, and our country are being cowardly? If yellow is the color of caution and timidity, none of us look good in that color – at least in the reign of God.