One thing I love about our liturgical seasons in our church year are the colors. Purple, white, green, red, and even blue in those churches that use blue instead of purple for Advent. The diversity of color makes for a rich and colorful calendar cycle on our Sundays throughout the year. Just walk through the church door on any given Sunday and the richness of color draws you eye immediately to the beautiful hangings on the altar and the smaller ones on the lectern and pulpit – those places where the Word is read and spoken. Interesting: whatever the colors there are gold threads woven or appliqued or fringed with the design. The other place the color shows up is on the minister’s stole.
I remember one of the Sundays in my first year at Farnham and St. John’s. When at St. John’s, I generally vest in my church study, picking out the appropriate (for the season) stole from the rainbow array hanging in the closet there. That Sunday I grabbed my red stole, dashed over to the church, and through the sanctuary doors as the organ prelude was in process. I heard a little gasp from someone nearby and turned. The Altar Guild Chair was standing there, a look of distress on her face as she took in the color of my bright red stole and the rich purple hangings on the altar. “Oh no!” she moaned. I realized that one of us had messed up the color coordination of the day. In a momentary visual of myself in my beautiful red stole standing at the Lord’s Table draped in deep rich purple, I felt a surge of joy and delight. I turned as the prelude ended, the church bell ringing out that we were to begin, and whispered in the direction of my distressed Altar Guild Chair, “I just love red and purple together and God does too.”