If you study the paintings of JMW Turner and John Constable, keep a look out for a small splash of bright colour- usually red- and think about the impact it has on the whole picture. If you hold your thumb so it just covers the “splash” then you will see that the sense of depth diminishes (both in perspective and in colour palette).
When I was about 10 or 11, our teacher told us to paint the scariest “monster” we could imagine. I went in full technicolour! Garish and yet somehow less scary than the art “swot” who produced a truly terrifying picture using only two well-chosen colours. Less is more. You can tell how disappointed I was by the fact I still remember the incident…
My photo today is of a shrub called “Hot Lips” which is named for its scarlet-and-white flowers, small but perfectly formed. Sunshine, glorious sunshine, has brought this first bud of a long and prolific display.
Without this splash of red, the photo would be pretty-but-dull, a blend of greens and dark purple-brown.
A splash is enough. Long live Scarlet, enlivening the garden and grabbing all the attention.
It is about quality, impact, rather than simply quantity. Perhaps this suggests an approach to life itself? Perhaps we try to serve God or our community (which is admirable) but are finding it hard to be effective. Often this may be through attempting too much, or doing lots poorly and nothing well. Churches can have the same scenario: we try and do everything, and need instead to make the most important thing actually most important.
One act of sincere love, a few words of compassion and grace, a vulnerability that lays us open. These may not seem much. But they may be the most significant and even wonderful thing in the life of the recipient. I can’t change the whole world, but I can change one person’s world.
A splash is enough to bring their world alive.
Lord, help me be the splash of colour that helps somebody’s picture come to life. As Jesus said, “I have come to bring life- life to the FULL.” Why settle for less?