This summer I got new red couches to go with my red house, red dining room wall and red glass tile around my fireplace. This summer the red petunias in my front window box have never been so vibrant.  It is my favorite of all the colors.  All of these reds have given me joy this summer. Lounging on the couches with book in hand, watering my flowers every evening at dusk, feeling the safety of my cozy home. I have recognized the life in the midst of life.  Sometimes recognizing the reds can be a reminder that all will be well.  Red couches, red homes, red blooms.

This summer the color red hangs over our old wooden double doors at church. We are learning more about our Open and Affirming (ONA) statement.  A vote that was taken by the congregation over a year ago.  We have opened the process up again.  Mostly by accident but maybe not. Might this be the Holy Spirit at work?  These two months of June and July are appropriate months to talk and learn and most of all wonder about what it means to be an ONA congregation. The symbol of the rainbow is hope.  Hope can only be realized with action.  We hung hope above our church double doors this month. Our action, weather intentional or not, was a sign of hope for our church and it's forest neighborhood.

Red is the first color in the rainbow symbol for the LGBTQI community. The top color of red represents life. Represents being alive. Represents the circle of life. Represents God's creation.  Represents what is real on the inside is real on the outside.  The color red as life, represents what is true and authentic.  The color red is integrity and justice and love and equality because it represents all of life as God created it.

I engaged Mark 6:1 this past week.  It was of a Jesus in action.  I know, Jesus is mostly always in action.  But, this was a Jesus that had a sense of urgency, a Jesus that needed to get something done.  Getting something done would give his disciples a sense of hope.  So...He began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits. These were his instructions: "Take nothing for the journey except a staff- no bread, no bag, no money in your belts. Wear sandals but not an extra shirt." This passionate Jesus had clear instructions.  He knew what he was doing. He knew why and how to unfold the kin-dom of God. He was probably intense and over-bearing and perhaps a little defensive- because you know one of those twelve tried to argue with him. But, he was alive with the color red.  He was alive with passion. He was alive with call.  This Jesus would not have an apathetic disciple, a disciple without faith. 

Take nothing except your red, beating heart of love. This is all you need.

Our twenty-first century presents us with complicated times to do ministry.  So, this summer, I decided to engage the red, notice the red. Be aware of what was alive and real, to lead with the heart- leaving everything else behind.

Red couches, red homes, red blooms and red stripes across the rainbow.