John 2-4 (and Acts 1-2) – Orange and Red

Lots coming together the last few days and it centers on the colors Orange and Red. #wearorange was the hashtag for the event my son asked to go to (and if I’d take him) on Saturday. It was the Moms Demand Action rally against gun violence. Everyone was asked to wear orange in solidarity and honor of those who have lost their lives to gun violence. We heard stories of survivors, from police, from activists, from preachers – all focusing on how the time is now to bring about change. #enough read the words on the back of one woman’s orange shirt. That morning, I had read in John 2 (Cotton Patch version) of Jesus saying to his mother that he wasn’t quite ready when he was called upon to do something when the wine ran out at Cana. But then the story that immediately followed was that same “timid” Jesus overturning the tables of the money changers. Not so timid anymore…. Maybe it was #enough already for him.

Then yesterday we celebrated the day where we remember the Holy Spirit coming on Pentecost (story told in Acts 2). Again, like the John 2 story, we have people who were formerly timid and afraid now filled with power and speaking in front of thousands about the story and the way of Jesus. The color for Pentecost Sunday in the Christian tradition is bright red.

In the afternoon, I participated in a community service to celebrate the gift of the Spirit and I noticed the red and the orange together on the stole I was wearing (made by my awesome wife). There they are together – orange and red – both speaking the same thing – in the power of God, timid is not the way we are. We are filled with the promised power to be a part of the transformation of the world.

And then as we read into John 3 and 4, there’s that message of transformation. Transformation in the conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus – you must be born again into a new creation (Paul’s words) but that new creation is not just in us as individuals but birthed in the neighborhoods in which we live and the world in which we are a part. John 4 tells the story of Jesus with the Samaritan woman – a woman he “wasn’t supposed to talk to.” (Cotton Patch version says that she was a black woman and brings in a more familiar and necessary angle for us in the US). Yet, Jesus shares a drink of water with her and bridges what was once an unbridgeable divide.

Orange and Red. The colors of the fire of the Holy Spirit moving in power. The colors that the preacher at the service yesterday afternoon spoke to when he said that we may think that Jesus was going to be the one to make the change, but in the power of the Spirit, it is us who are going to make the change. Amen.

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