The Crimson Color

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If you were in worship on Sunday when Christianity celebrated Pentecost, you might have seen a change in the liturgical color in your church.  The paraments, the cloth on the altar, the lectern, the pulpit, etc. are all changed to a bright red.  Red is a traditional color for Pentecost.  It is the color of fire and flame, the symbol of the Holy Spirit’s descent, which scripture describes as tongues of fire (Acts 2:3). 

Red becomes an important reoccurring color scheme in scripture: in the Red Sea Israel will find its path to salvation while Egypt finds its destruction (Exodus 14), the red heifer will be essential part of the purification ritual for those who become unclean from touching a corpse (Numbers 19), the prophet Isaiah describes sin as scarlet, red as crimson (Isaiah 1:18), and the Book of Revelation describes a bright red horse traditionally symbolizing war and violence as part of the four horsemen prophecy (6:4).

Red is the color of our blood, that life-giving fluid that courses through our bodies.  It is the color of Christ’s blood shed for us all, for the forgiveness of sin.  It is the color of the wine that Jesus blessed during the Last Supper, the cup of the new and everlasting covenant.  Red is one of the colors of salvation.

Red is everywhere…

(Image courtesy of bigoo.ws)

Red is in the trees…

(Image courtesy of nebras.nuks.org)

Red is in the fields…

(Image courtesy of fanpop.com)

Red is in humankind…

(Image courtesy of weheartit.com)

Red is in our food…

(Image courtesy of edupic.net)

Red is in fashion…

(Image courtesy of marieclaire.com)

Red is in the heavens…

(Image courtesy of pikespeakphoto.com)

Red is in cinema…

(Image courtesy of vintagecatwalk.wordpress.com)

Red is in the Church…

(Image courtesy of liturgicalart.blogspot.com)

Every time you glance around at the world around you and see red, remember that red is rich with theology.  God uses red time and time again to remind us of God’s redemptive acts in Jesus Christ, God’s Grace received through the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, and God’s love for all creation, especially you.


“bright red love” by f-zimba

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