Throughout the month of December, the paraments – the cloths placed on our Sanctuary altar and lectern – were purple in color. This represents the “spiritual royalty” of Jesus. And as the Christmas story and rest of the Gospels remind us, that spiritual royalty is rooted in service and humility.
For the author and business advisor Seth Godin though, the color purple is a reflection of something else. Godin says, “If you’ve seen one brown cow, you’ve seen them all. But if you saw a purple cow, that would get your attention. He then uses that purple cow imagery to offer this thought – that if you aren’t remarkable, you run the risk of being invisible, as in having no real or visible impact.
For Godin, remarkable isn’t about being different or gaining notice just for the sake of looking different and being noticed. It’s about making an important, meaningful impact, so that we can’t be ignored.
This past year, you, and First Parish, were purple cows in so many ways – regularly checking on each other through cards, calls and notes; providing financial, material, and emotional support to those struggling near and far; bringing gifts of appreciation to local businesses and first responders in recognition of their efforts throughout this “pandemic year”; offering local youth opportunities to serve those in need; devising and carrying out the technical and musical means necessary to bring worship, prayer and study opportunities into people’s homes virtually. All of it examples of service grounded in humility – the purple that makes us purple cows in Godin’s understanding.
With that in mind, I invite and encourage all of us to consider and discover one new way we can become “purpler” during 2021. Perhaps it means starting a new ministry of some kind either inside or outside the walls of First Parish. Maybe it means making a new and different contribution to an already existing ministry; adding one new regular spiritual practice to our lives that will then manifest itself in how we serve this community and beyond; or initiating one new relationship with someone different from us in terms of race, religion, or political perspective.
Whatever it is, God will help us find it and do it, regardless of what this new year brings in terms of how and when we progress to the other side of the pandemic.
So as we enter 2021 together, my hope and prayer is that it be a healthy, blessed, and purple year for you and our First Parish spiritual community.