Reverend Jean Kim
“Mission in Purple”
I am called “purple pastor” by many of my friends, But it is not the name I gave myself. I earned the title from people who see me in a purple shirt every day since 1997 with “End Homelessness” printed on it. Therefore, the purple color became my landmark and identity.
Purple is the liturgical color for the Season of Lent in Christian tradition. It can symbolize pain, suffering, mourning and penitence. It is also the color of royalty, so traditionally has also been used for the season of Advent in Christian tradition.
Therefore, Lent is the time Christians grieve and lament for Jesus’ suffering, reflect upon our lives seriously in prayer and fasting, repent our personal and corporate sins and commit to serve the Lord more faithfully.
Likewise, in my purple shirt, I grieve, lament and repent for having so many homeless people in this affluent country, and commit to love and serve Jesus Christ by serving the homeless and commit to work toward ending homelessness. For this reason, I chose purple when I developed shirts with a message, “End Homelessness for all People” as a campaign of the National Presbyterian Church (USA). Therefore, the color purple became not only my personal identity but also my homeless mission color.
Because the color purple can also symbolize pain, suffering, and mourning of homeless people who lost everything including their jobs, homes, families, identity, health, pride, joy and hopes, they deserve to be called “People in Purple.”
Purple also represents my own personal pain, suffering, and mourning for my past hurts and wounds. Therefore, Jesus, my homeless friends, and I share our pain with each other. Thus, my love for Jesus is my love for the homeless and my love for the homeless is my love for Jesus. As Jesus participates in my suffering and pain, I too participate in his as well as the homeless. Therefore, every day is Lent for me in my purple shirt. My life is purple life, and I am glad to be called “Woman in Purple.” So I call the Lord “Jesus in Purple,” my homeless friends “People in Purple,” and my service for the poor “Mission in Purple.”