Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Purple (11/05/09)
TITLE: Jelly Beans and Jesus
By Carole Buie
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As a child, this color elicited all that was savory in my life. Grape-flavored treats satisfied my palate like no other. Jelly beans were special. I remember fingering through a plump bag of them seeking only the grape ones. Once found, they were plopped into my mouth producing stained, gummy teeth. Grape Kool-Aid followed closely behind and washed away the sticky residue, but left an inexorable violet-tinted moustache. One look at me left little doubt that I had successfully accomplished my mission of seeking and consuming my favorite sweet. Also, as a youngster, I recall seeing Purple Cows on the malt-shop menus. For years I wondered not only how a cow could be this hue, but how could it be sipped through a straw.
As I left these maudlin trademarks of my youth behind, I began to see that this color possessed a more poignant edge, a kind of majesty which painted itself on the hearts and faces of man. I saw it in the purple piping of kingly robes, delicately embroidered ministers' stoles, softly draping communion scarves, and on the garments in the stately portraits of Jesus sitting in repose.
So far, this princely color had only embodied the tasty and the majestic, until I read the book, Etched in Purple, by Frank J. Irgang. Then the dichotomy of this amethyst tint hoisted its noison head and moved away from the lofty and noble to the foreboding realm of self-sacrifice. Through his personal narrative, Irgang related the story of the soldiers of World War II who relinquished their lives and in return received mere purple hearts. Even though their deaths were ignoble, their story was "etched in purple" and preserved in his book as a monument to their sacrifice.
Jesus's life was snuffed from existence without honor or reward when he forfeited his life for the souls of man; however, his story is enscribed or "etched in purple" in the power and grace of his words in the Bible. Now when I see this color, I not only remember the gooey jelly beans, the valiant soldiers of World War II, but, most of all, the living sacrifice of Jesus. Purple now has a nobility all its own as it sits in companionable silence surrounded by all that represents the best and worst of mankind.
I think Jesus would have enjoyed sharing a bag of my favorite jelly beans with me and not minded showing a big, purple-toothed smile.
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