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Seeing Red Differently by Carroll Makemson

Red is a powerful color! Red stops traffic, with green, announces Christmas, with blue and white evokes patriotism, with white lace denotes love, when flashing on emergency vehicles hurries help, and with the participle “seeing” denotes anger.  

Years spent working in elementary schools have ingrained in me the seasons and holidays of our culture. I even call my wardrobe chronological, because I not only wear seasonal colors but also t-shirts that celebrate certain days, i.e. Pi Day for 3.14 and William and Mary College for my parents’ birthdays.

Maybe you aren’t interested in having a chronological wardrobe, but our culture has already infused your life with rhythms and seasons. Winter, spring, summer, and fall come and go with wardrobe, weather, and activity changes. Holiday merchandise appears too soon in our stores in designated sections. Sports seasons provide a rhythm for both players, spectators, and even our wardrobes. Plants mark our planting, growing, and harvesting seasons.  

How blessed we are to have a church that gives our lives rhythm by celebrating the seasons of the Christian year. The church year follows the life of Jesus beginning with the first Sunday in Advent. We wait, anticipate and prepare for His birth. Then Christmas begins on Christmas Eve and continues for twelve days until Epiphany, followed by Ordinary Time leading to Lent, Holy Week, Eastertide, Pentecost, and back to Ordinary Time until we start a new year at Advent. A few other designated days like Trinity Sunday fill the year. The liturgical cycle provides an inspiring rhythm for our lives that is richer than secular holidays and sports seasons.

This Sunday, June 10, is Pentecost, the seventh Sunday after Easter. “Pentecost is sometimes called the birthday of the church because it was the time when the followers of Christ really bonded together into a body, ignited with the Holy Spirit and prepared to spread the Word.” (Halverson, Delia. Teaching & Celebrating the Christian Seasons, 2002, p. 65.) This event is recorded by Paul in Acts 2:1-42. At Second Baptist Church, you will probably hear a sermon based on this text every April as it is remembered as Jason’s first sermon and anniversary passage. 

In Acts 2:3, the Holy Spirit’s presence is described as tongues of fire resting on the early followers. Thus, comes the liturgical color of red for this holy day. This birthday is a celebration of hope, renewal, purpose, and mission for the church. (Halverson, p. 66) Perhaps this Pentecost you will celebrate hope and rededicate to the church’s purpose and mission. 

Put on your red clothes Sunday as a reminder of Pentecost. Let red be a powerful color for you and for Christ as we celebrate the birthday of the church by “seeing red differently”. 

Some interesting etymological facts: 

• Penta means five. Pentecost is always 50 days after Easter; seven weeks including Easter Sunday.

• Ordinary comes from the word ordinal meaning counted or chronological

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