Clothing as an act of resistance? Well, this fall I’ve been wearing black on Thursdays, as have a lot of my clergy colleagues – in visual support of ending sexual violence. I admit it is a small step, and perhaps not even a particularly visual step, but I have found it to be meaningful for me. And I advocate it for you, dear reader, for this Sunday, October 27th, 2019. Wear Red. When you come to church, when you go to the store. Wear red as an act of resistance.
Red is the color of fire (okay, with yellow and orange and white usually). Red is the color of blood. Those of you who remember Les Miserables, are no doubt singing the song from that masterpiece – “Red, the blood of angry men! Black, the dark of ages past! Red, a world about to dawn! Black, the night that ends at last!” This scene in the movie is about the uprising of the French citizenry that takes place in the novel( and in history as the Paris Uprising of 1832 against the oppressive French monarchy.) The Blood of Christ comes to mind for me as I remember again that my salvation was bought with a price.
Red is the color of sanctuary. In Europe, during the middle ages, one of the reasons the doors of the church were painted red was to represent sanctuary – those vivid colors would be a beacon for the poor, the hunted, that within the walls of the church they would be safe from whatever or whoever was hunting them. Many historians believe the church doors in Wittenberg were red that day that Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses as a public notice that he disagreed with the Pope, and the Catholic church, on serious issues of freedom and practice.
Red is the color of the Holy Spirit, as we envision the tongues of flame over the heads of those present on the day of Pentecost – as the spirit rushed in to take away their fear, and send them out to do the work, God had prepared them to do. To change the world.
So, whether you wear Red on Reformation day in solidarity with the blood of Jesus, the vivid Red of welcoming Sanctuary, or in communion with the fire of the Spirit which burns within our hearts, enlivening, and enlightening as it goes – I ask you to wear Red on Reformation Day. We stand together for many facets of one thing – God’s love and witness.
Three churches in Salem, Oregon will worship together at St Mark Lutheran Church, 790 Marion Street, at 11 am on Sunday October 27th. It is my prayer to see the congregation aflame with Red. Amen