Meaning of Red

Welcome back to the colouring party! This week we are going to look at a mysterious and paradoxical colour: the beautifully alluring colour of red. Take a moment to think of your version of red. Is it bright and colourful like the primary box of crayon-coloured fire trucks from your elementary school days? Or is it deep and foreboding like the thick petals of an English rose? Perhaps a more cheerful shade like summer strawberries or glinting bows on a Christmas package all tied up in ribbons? A pinkish shade like the tongue of a friendly puppy? Or almost black maroon like the dress of some evil mistress from the horror movies in stiletto heels? We have between 30 and 40 odd shades that we attribute to the colour “red”, each of us adhering to our own favourite: There is scarlet and crimson, cerise and magenta, maroon, carmine, claret and burgundy, as well as carnelian and cherry and cardinal red. To say nothing of ruby or garnet or vermilion, and wine, terracotta and rust; simply to name a few.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Canadians, of course, love our red and white flag with the 11 pointed leaf, our beacon of allegiance and the symbol of all things maple. It reminds me that spring will finally arrive when the sap starts running and assures me that time does in fact move on, even when winter seems so long. You can take the figuratively or literally if you wish. Perhaps your Canadian vision of red includes Anne of Green Gables and the delightful story of the red-headed girl who so hated her auburn locks. You can read about my musings on her over at this post. Red hair, that’s another whole topic, isn’t it?

But let’s get back to our study of red. I might have chosen the most difficult colour to start with as it seems that this shade is so broad in its “meanings” and the internet has lots to say about it. It’s the longest colour in the spectrum of colours that humans can see, and is, in fact, the first colour that babies can “see”. Red is said to be a physical stimulant and actually raises our blood pressure and respiratory rate. Perhaps we need to re-paint our boy’s room as two of their four walls are red. And it chips terribly. Don’t use it for walls. 🙂

As I mentioned earlier, this shade of our colour wheel is almost paradoxical: it gets us going but halts us to “stop”. Often associated with blood, we think of it as “the red cross” of life giving — and yet, also of so much torture, and life ending violence. Certainly it is a colour of extremes, and seems to follow that in its biblical references.

 Now, I must make note here that I am not an expert on symbolism and I do not claim to have all the answers. It’s simply you and I thinking about such things and musing together. Biblical accounts and psychology and even “spirituality” often get muddled in the great wide world, so I will pick and choose our references as carefully as I can. So let’s dive in.

The Hebrew word for red is “oudem”. Its actually meaning is “Red Clay”. Think of the Biblical names Adam, Esau and Edom which are all derived from this Hebrew word and are often described as “ruddy” or the terracotta shade of clay from the earth. From this we have red representing humanity — and with it the sin of our human natures. We are nothing but mere mortals, primitive beings made of clay. That primal definition is carried in many circles and often leads us to think of red as elemental like fire, which in turn conjures up ideas like passion, anger, vengeance. This is certainly the case for the fiery red horse mentioned in Revelation 6 who will take away any peace left among men. Or the terrible vengeance described in Isaiah 63. Yes, one day our Holy God will have vengeance against the sin and destruction that evil has unleashed in our world — and our streets will run red with the destruction and agony of our passions and lust.

photo credit Demi-Brook of dbphotography

Be that as it may, our red, in it’s paradoxical ways, shows us the flip side of this destruction, for red can also be our signal for the life giving sacrifice of our Saviour’s blood shed on the cross. Time and time again we see it as a passage to safety, a cleansing from destruction and a sign that God’s plan will ultimately be the one to be carried out. Rahab’s scarlet flag for rescue, the sign of the blood red moon and painted doorposts of Egypt’s great rescue, and ultimately the cross where, if we choose, we may be washed as white as snow. Ah yes, red is truly a passionate colour — but not of Valentines and stiletto heels. It’s the passion of ultimate sacrifice, of agape love and of cleansing redemption. Turning clay into treasure.


I’m excited to be hosting this colouring party here at mittonmusings.com! Did you miss our first post? Don’t miss our next one! Join us and receive the muses each week via email! Subscribe here.

Rainbows

Welcome to the party! We’re going to start off by opening up our box of crayons and just taking a moment to appreciate the entire rainbow!! I was excited to see this National Geographic photographer’s photo on my Instagram feed this week:

AND THE CAPTION THAT WENT ALONG WITH IT:
Photo by Keith Ladzinski @ladzinski | A fleeting beam of sunlight draws out a prismatic rainbow on a stormy day in Grindelwald, Switzerland. This rainbow lasted mere minutes, dominating the landscape among a scene of dramatic storm clouds that shrouded the tall peaks of the valley. To see more photos of the #Alps please visit @ladzinski. (Full credits given as above!)

A fleeting glimpse of God’s majesty at work! Isn’t it beautiful?! Now, there’s a whole lotta science that goes along with rainbows, but let’s just look at the simplified version, shall we? Basically, you need some water droplets still hanging around in the air… and then some light from the sun. Then scientists include a whole bunch of things like reflection, dispersion and refraction. If you are interested, you can check out this link from the Smithsonian. The arc, or curve you observe is because you can only see a rainbow from your specific spot relative to the distance from the light source and a whole bunch of other mathematical stuff. That’s why we sometimes see a double rainbow or circular rainbows can be see from airplanes. And the colours? Traditionally, we say that the rainbow contains red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. But technically, the rainbow is a continuous spectrum of colours — the human eye can only see a few. Rainbows are sooo much more than we perceive! And I say perceive because rainbows are really optical illusions — you can’t reach out and touch one, and there really is no “end” point. Sorry, no pot of gold, either. Just a fascinating blip that shows up in our world every now and then. Especially if you happen to be in just in the right spot at the just the right time!

Perhaps this illusion is why we are so drawn to them, and why rainbows have come to mean so much more to us than simply science in the sky. We’ve associated the arcs with God’s promise (we’ll get to that), ancient writings in various aboriginal folklore and chinese writings associate it with creation and new beginnings, and rainbows have often been paired with bridges and the idea of “crossing over” to better places. We know they are something special. Something spiritual. More recently, rainbows have been adopted with peace, love and freedom. Often in our own attempts to make ourselves more “in tune” with the divine, we assign rainbows more “magical properties” than their original meaning intended.

The Ark Encounter Gift Shop

When we visited Kentucky’s Ark Encounter back in 2018, I was intrigued with their merchandise advertising the idea of “taking back the rainbow”. At first I wondered: take it back? Doesn’t it belong to everyone? Obviously referencing the LGBT+ community’s use of the rainbow in it’s Pride flag, this campaign is drawing attention to the differences between the Biblical account of God’s rainbow and the Pride’s adoption of it. We live in a city that hosts one of the largest Gay Pride Parades every year. Many of our public schools and community centres display the rainbow flag. It’s a common sight in our neck of the woods. Digging a little deeper for this post, I did discover that the original Pride Rainbow Flag contained 8 colours, but now is represented by only 6; a fact many conservative Christians are quick to point out in their defence against the homosexual lifestyle as a perversion of the original rainbow. It is important for us to take a stand on Biblical Truths in our society — but even more important to do it accurately and not simply copy and paste or “like” posts without investigating first. Answers in Genesis does make a good point in reminding us that “…Before you accept the claims on social media, take care to consider whether they are accurate, and then indicate your approval or share them with others. ” The science states a rainbow is a spectrum, remember? It’s not 6 colours or even 8. I encourage you to investigate more at Answers in Genesis and other Bible believing sites to make our arguments consistent with both the Bible and science as we engage in conversations with the LGBT+ community and their allies.

So let’s delve into the Biblical accounts of the rainbow! Rainbows are mentioned in three books: in Genesis, and then again in Ezekiel and Revelation. The later accounts use them in description of brilliance and specific colours, so we may touch on those later in our colouring party. Genesis 9 is our description of the very first rainbow and it’s promise for Noah — and for us. The flood is over, Noah has built his altar, made his sacrifices, and once again inherited the land, and God says this:

” 21 The Lord smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of humans, even though every inclination of the human heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night
will never cease….

Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him: “I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendants after you 10 and with every living creature that was with you—the birds, the livestock and all the wild animals, all those that came out of the ark with you—every living creature on earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you: Never again will all life be destroyed by the waters of a flood; never again will there be a flood to destroy the earth.”

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”

17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.” GENESIS 8,9: verses as listed.

So there you have it. The scientific wonder of the rainbow is so delicately placed in our world, when all the conditions are right, to remind us that God is still in control. That even though our human hearts are “every inclination of evil”, He still loves us. Rainbows, like the one Ladzinski captured on the Alps, are reminders to us that God has the power to destroy, but His grace and mercy are abundantly more than we deserve.


I’m excited to be hosting this colouring party here at mittonmusings.com! I can’t wait until we pull out the next colour from our box of crayons next week! Don’t want to miss the adventure?! Join us and receive the muses each week via email! Subscribe here.

Hosting a Party!

Happy Blog-a-versary to us!! This week, mittonmusings.com turns two years old! I can’t believe it! What started out as a little “learning experience” has grown into a full fledged toddler — complete with the meltdowns of a terrible two year old! (I recently had to delve into the world of website analytics. Let’s just say I don’t get it — yet.) But, I have learned a lot. A lot. And I want to thank you all for supporting me and this little adventure with your comments, encouragements and “likes”.

You’ll notice some subtle changes as we “grow up” a little. I’m hoping our new look is a little more streamlined and easy on the eyes. It’s been fun learning blips and blobs of this huge world we call “technology”. And it changes fast… so we are learning to keep up! We’ve just about hit 200 followers with just under 2 000 views. We’re active on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and you can find our Facebook page here. We are not YouTubers yet, but maybe we’ll be cool enough for that someday. Won’t the kids be so impressed?! Videography is on the list of things to learn. We dove headstrong into our first ever daily email campaign, 30 Days of Blessings, and had lots of great feedback. God has truly blessed our little ministry.

So what are we going to do to celebrate all our slow, but exciting progressions?! We’re hosting a party! Well, sort of. As much as I’d love to have you all over for cake and ice cream, the introvert in me says ” uh, no.” So, we are going to do the next best thing, we are going to all sit at home and drink warm beverages on the couch — and colour!!

Colour, you say? Yup. For the next several weeks, mittonmusings will be studying all about colours! I’m no artist, but I’ve enjoyed colouring since I was, well, two years old. So I thought it would be fun to do a study on colours, their symbolism, their psychology, and why God gave us such a rich resource to play with! We might even look into Bible Journalling and colour coded study. Are you up for it, my friends?! Fabulous!!

And what would a party be without presents? Oh, we are going to have those too! How can you get one?! By joining us on the adventure! And sharing it with others! Throughout the colour party, I’ll be looking for likes, shares and new followers! It’s how the internet decides we are “worthy” of taking up space in it’s crazy world! Simply click on the side “follow” button, or join the adventure when prompted in the pop up! Then pick your favourite post, write a raving “colour commentary”, and share it on your favourite social site! It warms my heart to think that I have had a little impact on making people think, helping them grow, and encouraging blessings along the journey. Will you help me celebrate?! I’ll meet you on the couch next week, with crayons in hand!!

Can’t wait to have you join us!