Three or four times a year a group from Caledonian Road Methodist Church leads worship in the local sheltered housing for the elderly. This is ‘informal’ worship, including story, song and conversation and usually with a strong visual element. The worship is led by Ann, one of our local preachers, who is particularly gifted in making connections with the experiences of the elderly residents, with additional input from yours truly.
Today’s worship was on the theme of ‘colours’. Ann talked about the importance of colour in our lives. We live in a colourful world – more colourful than the world that the older folk had been born into, which was largely dominated by drab colours. As Henry Ford famously said of the Model T car, you could have any colour, as long as it was black. There is a strong link between colour and our emotional state. Not only do we use colours in a figurative way to describe our moods (green with envy, purple with rage etc) but colour can profoundly affect our moods: Ann gave a fascinating example from her former career as a teacher, of her school adopting bright red sweatshirts as the school uniform, only to change two years later to green – red was causing the children to be hyperactive!
We sang ‘All things bright and beautiful’ (which I haven’t sung for a long time, but was very appropriate considering the theme) after which I spoke on ‘the colour of Easter’, telling the story of Holy Week and how this is reflected in the colours used in churches during the week. The week begins with sombre colours such as purple and dark red, but on Good Friday even these are stripped away. Then on Easter Day churches are decked out in white and gold and springtime flowers in a riot of colour, representing the triumph of new life.
I concluded with a prayer I discovered on the internet (author unknown):
Green is for the palms that they waved at him
as he entered into Jerusalem.
Purple is for the wine he poured and blessed
before he faced his final test.
Red is for the precious blood he shed
from the crown of thorns placed on his head.
Black is for the sky as he died on the cross
suffering to redeem our loss.
Pink, yellow and orange are for the dawn that morn
when the tomb was empty and hope was reborn.
White is for the dazzling light that awed
all who saw him arisen – the Son of God.