“Purple is a biblically royal color. Lydia, of Greece, the first European convert baptised through Paul’s ministry was a “seller of purple.” This purple was extracted from sea shells, I believe and therefore rare at the time. That meant she made a good amount of money because the Caesars in Rome and others of prominence there wanted purple cloth for their own textiles, ie. clothes and home furnishings. She was able to support Paul’s ministry in large measure. I went to the place where she was baptised in Greece. It is up above Thessalonica, near Macedonia. There is a stream of running water there and a church which commemorates her baptism. It is a pretty place. We celebrated Eucharist there. She was a “sending” missionary. Missionaries come in two varieties: those who send others and those who go directly. Both are essential to spreading the gospel as Jesus calls us to do at the end of Matthew’s gospel. In the meantime, all of us can “gossip the gospel,” a phrase my church history professor taught.”

Gail Cohoon, Columbia, NC