Our Purple Nation

             A gentle reminder to the RED and the BLUE: our societal fabric is PURPLE and in need of mending. “Therefore, be slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to anger” (James 1:19). “Be kind, tender-hearted, and forgiving, as God in Christ has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32). “For love is patient and kind; it does not boast and is not rude” (1 Corinthians 13).

             Many extended families and all our communities are some hue of purple, meaning they are integrated groups of individuals who together are neither fully red nor fully blue. We are rather a mixture of both. Essentially, we are a purple nation. Our families and our communities need mending, and this will take the healing of individual fibers (both the reddish and the blueish strands of all the purple souls). 

I implore our citizenry to dive deeper into the virtue of humility and rise higher by virtue of grace. The hate speech coming from the extremities on both sides, those tugging hardest upon the purple rope, ought to remember that our most vulnerable citizens are children. Their ears are ever-listening, and their minds are ever-learning how to behave and what to BECOME. We should weigh our words carefully before speaking them out. “Only fools give full vent to their rage, but a wise man holds it in check” (Proverbs 29:11). We often become what we rage most against by giving full vent to our anger, so we need to be careful in our judgments of others lest our judgments be visited upon us. 

Moreover, may we be careful what we are writing on other people’s hearts with our words and expressions. Remember: God sees all, hears all, knows all, and will rectify all. We are not to play-god or make-gods of other people or things. God will love us enough to allow everything we uplift to fail us, so that we will return to Him as the source of all help in every area of need in our lives. Yes, God uses earthly vessels. But He is consistently varietal in His use of things and people, so we don’t get confused about where our help truly comes from.

It is interesting to me that the purple dye used to make the priestly garments in God’s temple and the royal garb worn by ancient kings came from two different dyes, a blue one (tekhelet) and a red one (argaman). Dyes which turn both become PURPLE when laid out in the warmth and light of the sun. These two dyes come from humble creatures of the sea. Even the noblewoman described in Proverbs 31 of the Bible is commended for dressing all her children in PURPLE. No created thing is to be the salvation of another soul. Our call as a people is to love one another and to speak the truth in love. It is essential to expose our “blueness” and our “redness” to the rays of God’s light so that we may become a nation of true integrity. The word integrity is directly associated with integration!

The standard greeting spoken by the Jewish people is shalom. We think of shalom as peace, but shalom is far more than peace. Shalom is also balance and completion, harmony, and integration. When we speak shalom, we essentially wish PURPLE-ness to others. Allow me to explain. The word shalom in Hebrew comes from the concept of opposites being led together, namely that of RED FIRE  (shin) directed by the Shepherd’s staff (lamed) to that of BLUE WATER – (mem). Only with the RED and the BLUE uniting can we experience true peace. This is how we must seek to mend our society’s PURPLE fabric, by allowing ourselves to be led together by the Shepherd of our souls.

Before you tell yourself that you are person of peace, ask yourself honestly how you have spoken to those in your family or about those in your community who are a different hue than you. Prejudice is about OTHERING, and it is not only a black and white issue; it is also a blue and red issue. While we claim we are FOR all the right and good things, we ought to become aware of how we are participating in “othering” and tearing down rather than building up our society’s purple fabric.

             May we become the color we are meant to be as a nation of red, white, and blue. May the RED and the BLUE be increasingly weaved together with the white holiness of God. “For a cord of three strands is not easily broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12).

*Original Prose by Kerry Hasenbalg

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