Seeing Red

What an interesting and sad week.  Holy Week.  That’s what we call it–we who are followers of Jesus.  It hasn’t felt very holy.  With a landmark case being argued before the Supreme Court here in the United States, the gloves have been off for many who usually are, on any given day, peace loving and respectful.  I am sad.

I will not comment on the political argument, which does, indeed, spill over into the arena of Biblical beliefs for many.  I have strong opinions and thoughts about the Biblical principles involved, as well. I would be perfectly willing (although not necessarily eager) to discuss them with anyone who truly wants to discuss them one on one.  I will not argue; will not shout; will not call names.  There has been plenty of that to go around this week as we have forgotten that we’re called to wrestle, not against flesh and blood, but against powers in the spiritual realm.  Just in case that’s not clear enough, let’s put it this way: If they breathe, they’re not our enemy!  Another popular blog, just within the last day or two has called attention to the incongruity of believers fighting with other believers, and even with unbelievers, over this issue.  Especially this week. 

I am seeing red.  You may think that means that I’m angry.  Anger is typically what is implied when we use that term; seeing red.  But all this week, I have seen vivid red symbols of the different camps plastered on my computer screen whenever I’ve gone to my usual haunts on the internet.  The different camps?  Did I really just use that term?  Another of those underlying meanings; the mental picture of two enemy camps aligned against each other, their banners flying proudly and brazenly to indicate that they will fight to the death with anyone who dares to raise a different banner.  The banners all seem to be red.  My eyes hurt from all the crimson I’ve seen over the last few days.

But, I’m seeing a different kind of red, too. As I sat down to write tonight, my heart weighed down with the animosity I have seen from folks on every side of this argument, I realized that it is Good Friday.  I’m not quite sure of the historical accuracy of Friday being the day on which the crucifixion took place, but it is the day on which all Christendom pauses to consider the incredible cost of Grace.  The transaction of redemption wasn’t clean and neat; it wasn’t a simple contract signing in an office.  It was messy, and grotesque, and bloody.  That’s right.  Blood was shed.  The contract for Grace was sealed with the blood of the Son of God who said, in bright red, “For you.  So that you can be with me in heaven.  So that you can live in unity with each other here on earth.”

I’m seeing red.  Today, it seems that all of us who are followers of the Lamb who took away the sins of the world, could take some time to pause and consider what that means to us individually and collectively.  I suggest that we might bow or kneel or stand with arms outstretched to heaven and simply be grateful that God’s mercy has reached to us in the red, red blood of His Son who died willingly for us.

The red was (and is) there to give every one of us individually the opportunity to believe.  It is also there to demonstrate God’s great love for us collectively, not so that we could tear each other’s throats out, but so that we could live together in His love. Perhaps, as we kneel in gratitude, a petition for love for our neighbors wouldn’t be out of place.

I’m seeing red tonight.  It’s a red of a different type than the red I’ve seen all week.  And, my eyes still hurt as I consider the cost.  The tears come as I realize how far from being a loving disciple I have strayed, arguments and excuses on the tip of my tongue, as I seek to justify my sinful conduct.

I’m grateful that God sees the red, too.  It is all He sees, as His Son says, “This one’s mine.”

On this, one of the high and holy days in the life of the Church, I am determined to live in a way consistent with that truth.  I pray that it will show in my life every other day, as well.

How about it?  Are you seeing red too?

“In letters of crimson, God wrote His love
On the hillside so long, long ago;
For you and for me Jesus died,
And love’s greatest story was told.”
(“Written In Red”~Gordon Jensen~Canadian born song writer)

“Christ suffered for our sins once for all time.  He never sinned, but he died for sinners, to bring you safely home to God.”
(I Peter 3:18a~NLT)

© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.

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