Purple again

It’s purple again in church.  Purple slipped in with Lent and with a helpful worship committee person.  The cross, the altar, the pulpit are all draped in purple cloth now.  Why purple?  It’s supposed to be a more penitential color…at least, that is true about the deep purple hanging around the worship space.

But I’m not convinced.  Last week, as I pulled out of my driveway to go to the Ash Wednesday service, I noticed that the crocuses had sprung up overnight. They never fail to set me grinning because they are the first perennials in my yard to bloom.  Their shade of purple stirs my excitement;  winter has finally lost its hold.  Their kind of purple does not make me feel the least penitential.
In fact, there’s not much somberness in me at all this week.  Too much life is stirring around me.  The church may not be able to pay its bills, but there are people whose faith and prayer life is suddenly growing strong.  We may be short a paycheck in our household, but we still have a roof over our heads and food on the table.  I may have struggled with  one fractured and one dislocated elbow, but I’m back to walking the dogs.  I may have faced too many of my fears, failures, disappointments and limitations this past year, and was plenty somber and full of lament as a result.  Only a few months ago I was immersed in reading about the “dark night of the soul,” and every word that I read echoed with the lostness and unknowing I was thinking and feeling.  Many of the painful challenges have not gone away, but in the end they have caused me to trust God in new ways.  And that in itself is amazing.  For the moment, it no longer feels like the soul’s dark night or a personal winter.  
So I am out of kilter with the deep purple Lent and the serious reflection it invites.  Instead, I’m well into the fragile, but grinning, crocus side of things.  Fragile, because an ice storm could still crush the small blossoms in my yard.  Fragile because hard challenges looming ahead could still push me into a muddy discouragement.  But for now,  I just want to relish the growth  God is bringing again.  I’ll grin at crocuses, laugh (and weep) with the people excited about their faith, greet new friends walking into the congregation, breathe in gallons of spring air, sing my way through the deeper purple and by God’s grace keep trusting day by day.  


  1. Thank you for this word of hope.