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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

any colour you like



After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb." (revelation7.9-10)
it's nice to just take an idea and run with it a ways; see where it goes. i was thinking about this big worship gathering revealed by God and described by john when something gelled...

the apostle john, exiled on the island of patmos while his faith brothers are all being systematically murdered for their terrorist ties with the rabbi known as jeshua ben joseph, describes the worship crowd gathered as multicultural, multi-ethnic, multilinguistic and so on. a fairly heterogenous group, all standing there waving palm branches just like when Jesus arrived in jerusalem, only instead of crying 'save us' (hosanna) they are proclaiming to whom salvation belongs.

but it's the white robes bit that really caught me, in light of all that comes before it. i suppose it's fair to say that white is Jesus' team colour, what with all that 'washes white as snow' talk. however, one might lose track of another possible significance of the multitudes clothed in white, defaulting to the simple truth that white shows dirt and can therefore only be seen as white when it is pure... the white stands for purity.

not that there's anything wrong with that.

so many things in our physical realm are not necessarily restricted to being only what they seem: take a simple beam of white light. we all remember the science class project where a beam of white light is directed into a glass prism which separates the colour spectrum of that beam of light and projects these colours on the wall adjacent to it. then there is, of course, the classic pink floyd album cover...

here's the thing, though: when we perceive a colour, we are really perceiving how just that band of the spectrum reflects back off of the coloured object: a green object only looks green because it is treated with something (paint, dye, whatever) that reflects only the green in a beam of white light.

a beam of white light contains all the colours of the spectrum in perfect balance and unity. it reflects off of the surface of something conducive representing this perfect balance and unity.

that the great multitude that no one can count, with representation from every nation, tribe, people and language, is singing salvation songs wearing white, reflecting the perfect brilliance of almighty God who is the only source of true light in the cosmos, suggests more than purity.

it speaks of perfect communion.

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