I am frequently stunned by color. The time of the year or the place in our country does not seem to matter. The colors of nature surprise me.
The neighbor down the street has maples in the yard. Deep red leaves will draw attention this fall. A few blocks away yellow leaves will pile inches deep, completely covering the grass. Up north winter brings an infinite variety of greens, evergreens set off against the backdrop of snow.
Orioles will soon take their orange south, and snowbirds will be here as white and gray replacements. A walk around town finds red cardinals, yellow goldfinches, blue jays and a variety of other colors.
So why all this color?
Does a cardinal distinguish his feathered brother from a woodpecker cousin by color? Does it make any difference to an insect at lunchtime that a leaf is red or yellow or some shade of brown? Is there vanity in the heart of a birch over a particularly handsome trunk of white? Do squirrels discuss the cosmetic effects of walnuts over acorns? “Floyd, your coat is turning a bit gray. Why don’t you lay off those butternuts for a few days.” Only in comics from the far side of humor would one find a crow living room featuring pictures of beautiful road kill.
Or why color at all?
Humans seem to be the only ones who appreciate color. We are constantly inventing new names for colors. “Brown” and “light brown” are not good enough. We must add “burnt sienna,” “coffee,” “chocolate,” “tan,” and a growing host of other shades to satisfy our desire for color and coordinated outfits.
When God said, “Let there be light,” and the primary colors flashed out in brilliant white, what did he have in mind? Surely this display was not for His own benefit. He does not need the experience of light to know what light is all about. Before the first rainbow appeared in the sky, the Creator was not mystified about the effects of a prism. He knew; He planned color … for us.
This over-the-top addition to sky and grass and skin and wooly worm was for us to enjoy. Can you imagine colorblind humanity? What would be lost, except the awe factor? As some humans do, we could all experience life in shades of gray. Mountains would still be mountains. Lakes would still be lakes. Mars would still be Mars. A baby would still be a baby. But what a loss it would be without purple, blue, red — and red, yellow, black and white!
Color points to God. This unnecessary miracle splashes creation with His call to worship. While kicking leaves on a city sidewalk, while driving away from a winter sunset, while smelling freshly plowed ground, and while listening to cicadas, the soul quietly drinks in color. And unless the heart is turned in upon itself, the voice must cry out, “Allelujah!”
Color points to God
Built on a rock
Dick Lauger, pastor, First Baptist Church, Luverne