Saturday, 28 May 2016

It's Good to be Green: By the Way column for The Medicine Hat News

In The Medicine Hat News here

Being green is seen as a great social and environmental virtue these days. Being green, as is often claimed, lessens the effects of global warming—it is a cooling agent. Not only that, being green is now associated with being smart if some websites are any indication—gogreensmart, greenandsmart, smartandgreen—for example. Green is good and to be encouraged.

Being green is good in church land, too. Last Sunday was Trinity Sunday. From now on the year goes green for those of us who worship in liturgical colour according to the Church calendar. I know many folk are uncomfortable with the practice—spirit of religion and all that—but, as a visual person, I really appreciate it. Worship and surroundings are in technicolour. It’s like a map. I can see where I am and it keeps me on track.

Green is for the season we Anglicans call the time after Pentecost (according to the contemporary Canadian calendar), or Ordinary Time (according our mother Church of England and our grandmother Roman Catholic Church). This year it runs for twenty-six Sundays until Advent Sunday November 27th.

The focus through the different colours and seasons of Advent (purple or blue), Christmas (white), Epiphany (green), Lent (purple) and Easter (white) each year is all about Jesus—his advent, birth, life, teaching, death, resurrection and ascension.

How I can best respond to the wonder of all that as a worshipper and disciple is the focus of the long green season just begun. Ordinary people like me learn how to become spiritually green and a better follower of Jesus. Green is good, but not necessarily easy.

“It’s not easy being green.” sang Kermit the Frog. “Having to spend each day the colour of leaves. It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things. And people tend to pass you over 'cause you're not standing out like flashy sparkles in the water—or stars in the sky.”

Being spiritually green is not flashy or sparkly. Some might say it’s monotonous—pretty ordinary and repetitive, actually. But so are my excuses and I need to be reminded of the things I’d rather avoid—repeatedly. Besides, repetition can be good. I keep kissing my wife, for example. Once wasn’t enough. It is worth repeating. Besides, I enjoy it. And I keep practising my guitar playing. The more I practice the better I get at it. Just so with being green in Scripture and worship for half the year.

The fact is our world needs some spiritual climate change. Going greener in our Jesus following and worship is a good way to bring about global warming in a good way.