Sunday, September 29, 2013

Lydia, A Seller of Purple

Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. John 19:5

I once worked in a chemical company. They specialized in dyes. A tiny vial of some of them would be worth thousands of dollars.

My uncle was one of the world's greatest experts on dyes. He wrote a text on them which is still in print. He taught himself German so he could read texts in that language. He rediscovered how to make Phonecian purple from seaweed. Though it was likely the color of the robe placed on Jesus, the secret was locked away for many years until my uncle, Floyd Green, rediscovered it.

The company I worked for bought a bundle of seaweed from Madagascar in order to make a trial batch in a big steam-heated kettle. It worked. I took the woven wrapping of the seaweed home and used it for a floor mat in my bedroom. It seemed so exotic.

It was an awful job. We used to urinate the colors. We even got dyes in our eyes. I quit and took a motorcycle trip to New Mexico.

This is awfully tenuous, but I feel a link to Lydia, the seller of purple in Acts 16:14. Is it not wonderful that God has recorded her name for us? Such an elegant name. And because purple was only worn by royalty, she was no doubt a patrician lady.

She responded to the preaching of Paul. She and her household were baptized as believers. Luke tells us she invited them to stay at her house. She will receive her reward for this.

Hello Lydia, I used to make your purple.

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