December is a festive month full of color. Even as the orange and yellow leaves of autumn are falling to the ground, we begin to think of Christmas reds and greens as we decorate our houses inside and out. The other day in worship I began to wonder about pairing our six testimonies with the six colors of the rainbow.
If each one had its own color, what color would it be? Colors do have a kind of emotional quality; we think of them as warm or cool for example, so this might work.
Stewardship was easy; of course it has to be green, but the others took more thought. I was tempted to color Simplicity gray, the historic color of Quaker clothing, but although I like gray and consider it a color, it’s not in the rainbow. So I put that aside and took a look at the others. What color could Integrity be? Something upstanding, I supposed, maybe yellow/gold as in “my word is as good as gold.” Community could be red, the heart color, as we reach out to each other, but it has to be barn-red, not the scarlet-red of anger. I grew up around brownish-red barns hearing stories about community barn-raising among the Amish, so red feels right for community.
On the cool side of the rainbow, blue is the most peaceful color, so it’s easy to assign that to Peace and purple or violet, the gay pride color, can be for Equality. That leaves orange for Simplicity. That makes sense actually: orange is a simple color, not too flashy, kind of homey, like simplicity. That gives us a testimony rainbow like this (see image)
We usually favor a mnemonic like SPICES or EPICS and using the rainbow gives us a different line-up. SPICES starts with simplicity just because it needs an S and EPICS starts with the quintessential Quaker value of equality but leaves out Stewardship. This rainbow version places community first, which, now that I think about it, comports with the emphasis we have given to community lately. The testimonies seem to have grown organically among Quakers and, as they increase in number and change places in a kind of fluid dance, they always “come round right” for our times.