“Purple Worship”

30 Jul

I speak words that are true but not real. I sing words that are true but echo as if no one hears them. Sometimes I feel like the only way that I can describe this feeling is to say that I am like “water that is not wet” or “fire that is not hot.”

I call this being in a state of “purple worship.” There is only one account that I know in the scriptures when Jesus wore the color purple. Purple was the color of royalty, wealth and power. This was an instance in which Jesus did not dress himself, his enemies did. It was during his trial just prior to undergoing his crucifixion:

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. “Hail, king of the Jews!” they said. They spit on him, and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.-Matthew 27:27-31

They hailed Jesus as king. These were people who also hailed Caesar as king. I would argue that they meant it more deeply when they called Caesar king than when they called Jesus king. But I would also suggest that it was more true when they called Jesus king than when they named Caesar with the same title.

Something odd was occurring as they mocked Jesus. Caesar who went by the names of Lord and Savior, redeemer of mankind and bringer of the gospel was only a parody to which Jesus was the reality. Caesar was only a shadow to which Jesus was the substance. And their words in that moment no matter how absent their hearts may have been, were more true than even their most heartfelt allegiance to the Caesar.

I find that I am a bit like those Roman soldiers only I am not always aware of the Caesar’s that I worship deeper than Christ. Paul names idols without faces as:

“sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”-Colossians 3:5

If these are idols then we got em.

What I am grateful about having an empty heart, if there is something to be grateful about, is that I usually recognize it. I’ve never been good with religious phrases such as “brother,” “praise God,” “amen.” Not that these are bad at all. I just grew up outside the faith and so it has always seemed very foreign to me to throw out one liners since my journey into the faith had lots of questions and confusion and one liners didn’t help. All that to say is that I’m terrible at trying to pretend that everything is always great.

So when my worship or words are like talking about “water that I don’t believe is wet” or “fire that I don’t believe is hot” I begin to meditate. I acknowledge to God that these words hurt to say because I do not feel them and I don’t want to pretend. I try to thank God because I think even this feeling of absence is actually a sign of God’s presence that he doesn’t want to leave me in this state. Instead of quitting or deciding not to sing I practice a spiritual discipline of praying these words. I pray that these things would become true and that they would become my desire.

And I guess that my desire as a result of this meditating and prayer is that I would recognize that Jesus didn’t choose to wear purple. He did not choose royalty, wealth and power. He chose to come first as a servant who would suffer and bleed to show what love is. And that is what I want. I want to follow in the footsteps of a crucified Lord.


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