“Baby, Let’s paint the town red today”, a guy once said to me when I was still at that point when I heard quirky lines on a day to day basis. I can remember thinking that anyone who talked like that must be up to no good. Paint the town red, ke? With my blood?! It was a scary thought to my 16 year old mind.
“Paint the town red” I eventually found out is a phrase coined as far back as the 1830’s meaning to engage in a riotous spree, connoting a riotous behaviour resulting in much blood being spilt.
Red is associated with blood, roses, fire, the sun and the sky at sunset. I recently commented on a picture of the sun setting, that it had the capacity to hold me in awe no matter how many times I saw it, with its kaleidoscope of red hues vying for glory as the sun retires to the West. Red is used as a symbol of guilt, sin and anger, often as connected with blood or sex. It is also a symbol for love, passion and beauty.
Another popular example of its symbol for guilt is in the phrase "caught red-handed", meaning either caught in an act of crime or caught with the blood of murder still on one's hands. The phrase "red-blooded" describes someone who is audacious, robust, or virile. Red catches people's attention, and can be used either in a negative way to indicate danger and emergency, or in a positive way in advertising to gain more viewers (many thriving brands use red as their color) or in nature, as a ripe fruit announces its readiness with its red color.
Several studies have indicated that red carries the strongest reaction of all the colors, with the level of reaction decreasing gradually with orange, yellow, and white, respectively. Because of this, red is often used to catch people's attention in a variety of situations like in football where the heart rate of fans increase as they sight that red card produced from the pocket of the referee.
There is something about the year 2011 which I perceive: it is a year of the red.
2011 and the red of love.
As a nation and as individuals, 2011 is a year that must be heralded with much love bursting in our hearts. The recent bombings in Jos, and even the bombings we had at the Celebration of our 50th anniversary are not events that should occur in 2011. Love for our neighbor irrespective of tribe, religious affiliations, and political partisanship should be practiced throughout the year and beyond.
This is a most timely reminder for us all even as we embark on general elections in the new year; election rigging, zoning disputes, acts of terrorism and kidnappings are not indicators of the love of God. We, young people are usually the targets of political hooligans exploiting our red bloodedness, and therefore all such manipulations should be resisted and instead that passion channeled to loving and lovely causes. So in this case, let’s not paint the town red with our neighbors blood, but with the colour of love; red.
2011 and the red of the BLOOD
Let’s paint our towns in 2011 with the blood of JESUS. Just like in the Old Testament when the blood of rams and bulls was sprinkled on door posts so that the angel of death passed over, the blood of Jesus should be our own covering in the new year.
It should go beyond merely a repetitive chant in churches and homes (Blood of Jesus! Blood of Jesus!) but a real awareness of the power of that blood and what it achieved for us.
Let us paint stop signs all over Nigeria with the red of His blood and say halt to Satan’s activities in the year 2011. The Scripture says” though your sins be as scarlet (red), they shall be white as snow”. In the Bible’s color coding, red+RED=WHITE; the capital red being the red of His blood.
This new year I would be caught red handed, painting the town red! What about you?