The long season after Pentecost is associated ecclesiastically with the colour green, as I recalled when listening to Baptist minister Richard Littledale on Sunday Worship on 23 June 2019 reflecting on the colours of the created world and how they stimulate faith.
About the colour green, Richard said: “To me, green is the colour of new life and defiant nature. It is the colour of hope after despair and Spring after Winter. Many centuries ago, the prophet Isaiah was speaking at a time when God was little more than a distant memory to many of his audience. Faith had crumbled, miracles were a thing of the past, and pride was in tatters. Against such a backdrop, the prophet makes a remarkable promise:
The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom; like the crocus it shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the Lord, the majesty of our God. (Isaiah 35: 1–2)
“‘The desert shall rejoice’ is such an evocative phrase, and the idea of things blossoming there seems like a contradiction. The prophet’s gift was to see God’s possibility, which seemed impossible to anyone else at the time. To see the wilderness rejoice or the desert bloom was to see things only visible to the naked eye of faith. It is still so.
“The particular lush green which the prophet describes is an
act of re-creation. Our faith is based not just on God as creator – but
redeemer. Right at the heart of our faith is the belief that in the harshest deserts of life he can make the living water flow and bring lush green foliage.”
Having told the tale of a dear friend who could testify that their desert rejoiced, despite suffering, Richard went on to pray: “Today, may the peace of God brush against our anxious souls, like cool green leaves brushing against our skin. We pray for all who find themselves in the desert of the soul – far from water and shade in the heat of the sun. Provide water for their souls and shade for their minds in the green oasis of your promises, we pray. Amen.”
Do listen to the whole programme at this link – it’s available until 23 July, after which you’ll only be able to read the whole script.