(81) S5E5 SOTM: Amethyst
Continuing the Sermon on the Mount working through Mt. 5:21-26.
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- Richard Rohr's "Sermon on the Mount": https://www.amazon.com/dp/B003A0IASQ/ref=cm_sw_r_em_api_uOXEFbGCN7ASQ
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The rage of red will rails against the wrong
While banality to blue will's bequeathed
The first seeks to cut short another's song
Latter never incisiveness unsheathes
But when bled together, these reds and blues
A royal color's beckoned to come forth
Majestic depth construed in purple hues
Dominion comes through sobriety's force
A sober-minded one will never hate
Nor allow good opportunity missed
For sobriety sees as clear as day
Cutting through the fog as does amethyst
The one given to strong drink or passions
Never creates - only themselves fashioned
[Mt. 5:21-26]. Amethyst is a purple gem once thought to provide sobriety while drinking, clarity while looking into the future, and was a beautiful purple – the color of royalty.
Here I juxtapose the colors red and blue. Red is often associated with anger and is a hot, vibrant, open color. Blue, on the other hand, is often associated with the “blues,” and is a colder color. Whereas red here is symbolized as attacking, blue is symbolized as representing passivity.
I expound here on the first two lines, more in regard to anger and passivity than to the colors. Anger, hatred, and aggressiveness seek to “end another’s song,” representative of killing another – whether that’s directly through murder or indirectly through hatred. Others are an object in our way which must be stopped. Jesus told us that to hate is to kill, as both seek the undoing of a human impediment through objectification. For the passivity, I use a word play with “incisiveness.” To “incise” means to cut. Incisiveness here means perceptive or smart. One who refuses to engage the world never whips out their intellect in order to address the world’s problems. They simply sit back. So when I say they never “unsheathe” their incisiveness, it is meant to play off the root of the word which can imply cutting, as one would normally unsheathe a sharp object, like a sword. In this sense, the blue and red are the antitheses of each other, with one signifying aggression and the other inaction. This notion also plays on the idea of anger. When we think of anger we usually think of weapons and physical aggression. However, while the angry one here is chided for wanting to harm another, the passive one here is chided for not unsheathing their intellect and will. The middle ground, then, will be that we must be aggressive in this world, but not with weapons seeking physical harm. Our battle is not with flesh and blood.
I continue with the violent imagery here as I reference “bled together.” Blue and red together make purple, which is historically the color of royalty. So when we mix our aggression or assertiveness with our willingness to hold back, we get the perfect combination. This is what subjects of the Kingdom, or rulers who will judge angels (as Paul calls us), will do. We are royal ambassadors of the Kingdom of God.
One who is angry and aggressive does not have dominion over the world as God intended. They do not rule the world, but are rather ruled by their emotions. They don’t tend and keep, as God described the way their dominion should be. Instead, they seek, subjugate, and destroy out of selfish ambition and vain conceit. Likewise, one who is not assertive does not have dominion as God intended, for they assert their reign over nothing. Dominion comes through sobriety – clear thinking uncompromised by any substance (e.g. alcohol) or action (e.g. lack of sleep) which would cloud our ability to move forward in wisdom.
Amethyst was thought by some ancients to help cut the effects of alcohol and produce sobriety. It was also thought at times to help have clarity in seeing the future.
Living in anger and aggression or indulgent passivity means one does not have dominion. Rather than being creators or individuals who better the world, they are controlled by the world in which they live. These individuals are
fashioned by their environment and circumstances. But our call as Christians is to have dominion over the world using the means God intended.