A Colorful Complement
by Rev. Doug Escue, Immanuel Lutheran
Church, Santa Fe, N.M.
originally printed in the January 2000, Lutheran
Color, like music, plays an important role in worship. Liturgical
color complements the message of the seasons during the church year and aids in
establishing a climate in which Law and Gospel may be heard.
However, color can easily be taken for granted
or mistaken in its purpose. The
clothes and banners must be seen as more than decoration.
used at Advent, communicates the
message of hope, Our Christian faith rests on the hope that Christ, who came in history
assuming our flesh, will return on the last day from that same blue sky into which He
ascended long ago.
is used during the seasons of Epiphany
and Pentecost. It is the
appointed color for Epiphanys message of Christs revelation to the gentiles
and growing His kingdom through missions. Green is the color of growth. The Sundays
following Pentecost emphasize
our need to grow and mature as disciples of Jesus Christ.
the calendar calls for black only twice: on Good
Friday and Ash
Wednesday. Theres no mistaking the message that this sober color gives. Black is
the absence of light. These are times for reflection on the cost of our redemption.
is the optional color for Easter
Sunday. It is also suggested for the last Sunday of the church year Christ the King
Sunday. It represents value and growth. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ gives our lives
meaning and worth.
Scarlet is called for during the Holy Week, from Palm
Sunday to Maundy
Thursday. It is associated with the passion the color of blood.
like black, is a penitential color. It is used during the Lent and, in many parishes, during Advent. This deep rich color
represents somberness, penitence and prayer.
is the color of purity and completeness. Used primarily during the 50 days of Easter, it bears the message that
"though yours sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow." His purity
before His Father becomes our purity.
White is also used for Christmas and its 12 days, Epiphany and the first Sunday
following it, Transfiguration Sunday and Holy Trinity Sunday.
Red is a power color. It is appropriate for Pentecost Sunday when we
remember the power and fire of "the Lord and Giver of Life," who reveals Himself
as the Promised One.
The thing to remember is that we use color to serve
Gods worshipping community by assisting in communicating the holy faith from
generation to generation.