Green wasn't always my favorite color.
When I was a kid, my favorite color was blue. Royal blue in particular, growing up near Kansas City as a fan of the Royals. This continued on into high school as I proudly wore the bright blue uniforms of the one and only St. Paul Saints.
Things began to change when I went off to college in California. The color for the Concordia/Irvine Eagles was green, but the landscape, not so much. Lots of tan and brown and beige. Southern California has its own beauty, but it's definitely a different kind of beauty than Missouri. When I flew home for the summer, I remember the lush and glorious canopy of green spreading out for miles below as we made our final approach. I had a newfound appreciation for my home as well as a new favorite color.
After tearing up my knee in my 20's playing church league basketball, I had to look for a new sport, so I started playing golf. I was immediately drawn to the lovely landscapes, the fresh fairways, the vibrant and verdant views all around. To this day I'm continually drawn back to the Psalms when I see a well manicured golf course with its vast array of green pastures and still waters. It may not always be easy to maintain, but it's good to be green.
This applies to the Christian life as well. Green is the color for “ordinary time” in the liturgical church year. It's the regular time of year that always gets overshadowed by other seasons such as Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. But the long Trinity (or Pentecost) season is important as well because it gives us time to ponder and reflect upon the great truths we celebrated earlier in the year. It provides time for us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet 3:18).
This is a time of nurture and growth for us as we safely graze in God's green pastures and drink freely from his still waters, all the while abiding in his abundant word and Sacraments. It’s also a time to step outside and enjoy God’s good and gracious gift of creation. This was an important element for Rich Mullins in the writing of his iconic song, The Color Green, from 1993. Here is the refrain:
Be praised for all Your tenderness by these works of Your hands
Suns that rise and rains that fall to bless and bring to life Your land
Look down upon this winter wheat and be glad that You have made
Blue for the sky and the color green that fills these fields with praise
Although green is not one of the primary colors used in Luther’s Rose, it does show up in some depictions as branches reaching outward toward the golden circle of heaven. This reminds us of the growth and abundance God provides through his good gifts and Spirit.
Fruitful trees, the Spirit's sowing,
may we ripen and increase,
fruit to life eternal growing,
rich in love and joy and peace.
Green is a rich and wonderful color, and so is this season of the church year. And when the green season is over, we return to our normal ordinary life refreshed, restored, and renewed, ready to freely and joyfully live for the Lord and serve our neighbor in love.
Christ is Risen. Jesus is Living. You’ve got the green light.