各位亲爱的弟兄姐妹平安。最近不断有CSMP的学员问及“路德教会牧袍礼服节期色彩”等问题，因此我找到和编辑了两篇相关的文章，仅作教学参考资料之用，并仅在不寐之夜与大家分享。所涉及的问题，本是CSMP计划中最后学期最后一课的主要内容之一。以后我们重逢的日子，还会当面进行示范教学；因为这类课程有较强的实践性。另外，已经推荐的Lutheran Service Book: Altar Book，其中也有相关说明，务请查明。本周问答与回应因这篇特稿，顺延到下一周。若有弟兄姐妹愿意翻译附件的文章，可互相分享。
1、Pastors’ Robes and Special Clothing
Question: Hey Pastor, I have a question! Why do pastors wear robes and special clothing such as the colored strip of cloth draped over the shoulders? Also, during the Christmas season and then beginning on Easter Sunday you seemed to disappear from the chancel right after you handed the offering plates to the ushers. When you came back, you were wearing some sort of covering over top of your robe. What is that covering called and what is its purpose Oh, and, no offense, but isnt all this a little too Catholic? Just Wondering
Answer: Dear Just Wondering, thanks for your questions. A brother Lutheran Pastor answered some of these same questions for a member of his congregation. I borrow from his work to help us all understand.
Liturgical clothing, or vestments, serve a number of purposes. Before we discuss them, we need to be absolutely clear that the wearing of vestments in no way implies that the wearer is more holy or is closer to God than other people are.Likewise neither Holy Scripture nor our Lutheran Confessions require the use of particular clothing. While the ministry of the Old Testament had elaborate and costly vestments specifically mandated by the Lord (Exodus 28), the ministry of the New Testament has no such regulations with respect to clothing.
So why are vestments used??Vestments accent our continuity with the past. Christianity is an historical faith rooted in Gods saving work in history.The New Testament church has a history reaching back to Pentecost.
Most of today’s vestments go back to the early centuries of Christianity. The white robe, called an alb (Latin: albus meaning white), is a 5th Century garment. The colored band of cloth worn by a Pastor, called a stole (Latin: stola), has pre-Christian origins in the synagogue, and has been worn by ordained clergy since the 6th Century. The stole is sometimes likened to that of a yoke worn by beasts of burden or servant animals such as oxen. (Read Mt. 11:29-30 to see how Jesus used this term.) Thus the stole symbolizes that the Pastor is a servant of God to His holy people. The chasuble, the flowing overgarment that you observed me wear, is sometimes worn by the celebrant at Holy Communion. Its roots and usage are from the 4th Century.
At worship services when the Lords Supper will not be celebrated (and its not too hot!) I will often wear a cassock and surplice underneath the stole. The cassock is the long full length black garment. The surplice is the shorter and loose fitting white garment that is worn over top of the cassock. Again, the use of these garments dates back to the ancient church.
That gives some answers to what the garments are. But why are they worn? Vestments are visual signals of the office or work that a person has. Judges in our civil courts wear black robes. Policemen, firemen, and medical personnel all wear uniforms that tell us what they do. While clothes do not make the person, they do tell what office a person holds. The vestments peculiar to the office of the holy ministry are the stole and the chasuble. They show who in the congregation has been entrusted with the administration of the Word and the Sacraments.
Also, vestments help to cover up the personality of the person. This is true also for acolytes, assisting Elders at Holy Communion, and the choir. The servant disappears behind Him whom he serves. Our Lord must increase; we must decrease. Whether the pastor prefers polyester or wool, power ties, a clergy shirt, or even an open collar, the clothing items worn are not to distract us from the office he administers. He is there as Christ’s servant. In the Liturgy, pastors are visually interchangeable.For they do not represent their own persons but the person of Christ.He who hears you, hears Me. (Apology 7,28; Lk. 10:16).
Finally, vestments serve as festive adornment for the Lords gifts. Celebration typically involves decoration. We use fine china and crystal, silverware and linens for those extra special occasions. When we go to a 4-star restaurant at 4-star prices, we expect the servants to be well attired. How much more do we expect the celebrant at the Lambs high feast of victory to be properly dressed where God bestows the gifts of Calvary to His people!
Thanks for your questions.
By Rev. Douglas K. Escue
Traditionally, five basic colors of a festive, penitential, and neutral nature have been used in most liturgical congregations. In recent times, with liturgical renewal, three additional colors (blue, scarlet, and gold) have been added to the basic five of white, red, green, violet or purple, and black.
Blue is the more contemporary color increasingly used by many congregations in their observance of a new church year. Advent, a preparatory time of waiting and watching, communicates the message of hope. BLUE-the color of the sky-helps convey that powerful message. Our Christian faith rests on the hope that Christ, who came in history assuming our flesh, will also return on the last day of time from that same blue sky he ascended long ago.
Green is by far the most common color seen during the year. Lutheran Service Book calls for its use during the seasons of Epiphany and Pentecost. The first Sunday following the first full moon after the vernal equinox (March 21), also known as Easter Sunday, determines the length of these two seasons. The days of Epiphany may entail a total of, but not more than, eight Sundays. The season of Pentecost, on the other hand, can last from 22 to 28 Sundays. Green is the appointed color for all but a few of the Sundays during these seasons. Consequently, green may be used an average of six to eight months of any given liturgical year!
Epiphany’s message of Christ’s revelation to the Gentiles along with the season’s traditional emphasis on extending Christ’s kingdom through missions, calls for the use of green-the color symbolic of growth.
The Sundays following Pentecost, observed as “the time of the church,” share a somewhat similar theme as that of Epiphany. Affectionately called the season of the “green meadow,” no doubt due to the fact of green being the established color, these Sundays also emphasize the subject of growth.
Green is a neutral color, but there is nothing colorless about our need to grow and mature as disciples of Jesus Christ. That’s why the “green meadow” time of the church year is so lengthy.
Time must be given to encourage all worshipers to maintain their faith through the constant use of God’s means of grace.
A helpful suggestion for congregations observing summer and fall months with one neutral color, would be to invest time and effort in obtaining several sets of green paraments. Variety and change in shades of this color would go a long way in keeping the season fresh and “green.” Changing the paraments every six weeks would complement the Sundays following Pentecost and their emphasis on personal faith that is living and growing.
Black is seen very seldom during the year. The calendar calls for its use only twice; on Good Friday and Ash Wednesday. There’s no mistaking the message that this sober color gives. Black is the absence of light. Good Friday, or Black Friday in combination with Ash Wednesday, calls for sober reflection on the cost of our redemption. Without Christ’s sacrifice on the day the sky turned dark and hid the light of the sun, there would be no bright Light of Christ to live in, nor new life in Christ to enjoy.
Gold is the optional color for Easter Sunday. It is also the suggested color for the last Sunday in the church year when that day is observed as Christ the King Sunday (LBW). Its use may not be popular yet, but its emphasis is undeniable. Gold represents value and worth. The golden festival of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the event that gives our lives meaning and worth. He is worthy of our praise as we adorn his altar with the color of splendor.
Scarlet (a vivid red, or orange) is called for use during Holy Week; from Palm Sunday to Maundy Thursday. It is a color worth investing in because it stands in contrast to the traditional red that is used on Festival Sundays. Scarlet’s use during the somber days of Holy Week help to offer a different message. As the Manual on the Liturgy points out, “scarlet is a color anciently associated with the passion … the color of blood” (p. 25).
Purple, like black, is a penitential color, in contrast to a festive one. It is appropriately used during Lent and, still in many parishes, during the season of Advent. The forty days of Lent, including the six Sundays that fall during this season, use this deep, rich color which has come to represent somberness and solemnity, penitence, and prayer.
Violet or purple was a very cherished and expensive color in the world Jesus lived. The dye used to make the color was painstakingly acquired by massaging the neck of a Mediterranean shell fish that secreted a special fluid. It was therefore afforded only by the rich and worn most exclusively by the royalty.
Jesus, the king of the Jews, wore a purple robe only once. As the soldiers mocked and tormented him, the Scriptures record they placed on him a “purple garment” in order to ridicule him and belittle the claim that he was a monarch.
Therefore, purple is used during this penitential season of Lent as a vivid reminder of the contempt and scorn he endured, and the subsequent sacrifice he made for our eternal salvation. Ecclesiastical purple should remind all Christians of their daily need to humbly give attention to leading a life of repentance.
White is the color of purity and completeness. The theme for the “great fifty days” of Easter is supported by the use of white. This color, used primarily during these Sundays, assists in bearing the message that “though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow.” Christ’s triumph from the grave on Resurrection day is the cause for our rejoicing. His purity before his Father becomes our purity. White reinforces that message of joy.
In addition to its use during Eastertide, white is the appointed color for such festive Sundays as Christmas and its twelve days; Epiphany (Jan. 6) and the first Sunday following it, observed as the Baptism of Our Lord; the Last Sunday after the Epiphany, also known as Transfiguration Sunday; Holy Trinity Sunday; and twenty-one minor festivals and occasions listed on the church year calendar in Lutheran Service Book. In all, white serves as the best festive color for the church year.
Finally, red is a power color and is appropriate for use on Pentecost Sunday. On this day we remember the power and fire of “the Lord and Giver of Life,” who revealed himself as the promised one. The color red communicates the motif of strength-strength and power the Holy Spirit gives in order for God’s people to call on the name of Jesus Christ and share that powerful name with others.
There is no question that red is a compelling festive color. Consequently, it serves well as the traditional color for the heroic martyrs of the church. The Lutheran Service Book church year calendar provides propers for sixteen martyr festivals and recommends red as the appropriate color. Their red blood shed in defense of the Gospel offers perpetual encouragement for God’s people to be resolute in living the faith.
Additional uses of red are Reformation Sunday; Holy Cross Day (Sept. 14); on such festive occasions as dedications, anniversaries of a congregation and its physical structure; festive days celebrating the office of the public ministry, such as ordination and installation.
Author: Douglas K. Escue — pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Originally published in Lutheran Worship Notes, Issue 29, 1994.