A white blond ponytail swung from the top of her head.  Looking first at me, then to her grandma, then peering back at me through thick lenses framed in pink, she shyly smiled.  Grandma had given permission for the pretty-in-pink child to choose a coloring book and to accept the box of 24 crayons that was offered.  Seems the little girl had been asking for a pack of crayons for a while.  Her small fingers closed around the gift of colors and her other arm cradled the coloring book.
For millions in the human family, much in today's world appears black and white.  A meal, no meal; clean water/polluted water or none at all; a friend/loneliness; access to medical care/existing with disease and in pain...death of babies and frail elderly a daily occurance; a hand up to better oneself/membership in a gang and the slamming of a prison cell door.  Even the shades of grey offer little hope.  Their life's existence, a picture, a shape, stamped out in black ink on a white page, determined by the printing press of powers and principalities.  Greed, arrogance, judgement, ignorance, dismissal, hunger for power, for more.  Mercy, justice, peace, joy, gentleness, forbearance, forgiveness, patience, self-control; these images not dreamed of or created by the me-first designers of this lopsided coloring contest.
But what if you and I dream about coloring outside the lines?  And DO it?!  Remember when we were just learning, in our excitement and joy in creating the page, printed or not, was full of color, lines, shapes, LIFE!  We did dare to color outside the lines.  If we did that today, what might our world look like?  No boundary lines between race, ethnicity, religious belief, no belief, sexual preference, gender identity, political party...simply a co-mingling of the hues, colors, tones, shades, living joyfully, spilled freely from the crayon box our Creator so generously provides?
With open hearts, eyes and minds, you and I, in response to out Baptismal Covenant have promised to persevere in resisting evil, and when we fall into sin, that we will repent and return to the Lord.  (Might this include "sins" of omission as well as commission?)  We answered that with God's help, we will proclaim by WORD and EXAMPLE the Good News of God in Christ.  Our promise is that we will not sit by and wait for others to come to us, but that we will SEEK and serve Christ in ALL persons.  And that we will STRIVE for justice and peace among all people, respecting the dignity with our agenda, lifestyle, or "mission".  I don't know what color hunger is.  I dare not imagine what vibrant shade is hope.  I'm tempted to think that death is only black yet the Holy Spirit rejoices in vibrant red and pure, clean white.  There was a time when the box held just eight colors, then 16, then 24, you see?  Grab a handful...dream and create..."color" someone's world...
Keep the sharpener handy.  There's a lot of coloring to do!
Deacon Martha