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Jim's Corner

As a boy, serving as an acolyte, I used to love watching the seasons of the Church year progress from Advent through Pentecost and the “long green season” following Pentecost. I admit, I used to get bored during that “ordinary time,” it seemed so long. The colors of the seasons heightened my awareness of something happening, even if I didn’t fully understand what was happening. There was something very special about it all. I eventually came to understand more about what was happening and what the colors represented. In the 1960s, purple was used for the seasons of Advent and Lent, representing the solemnity of the seasons and, especially in Lent, the penitential nature of the season. Christmas brought the white altar, pulpit, and ambo hangings, representing the purity, innocence, divine grace, and joy of Christmas. Epiphany’s color is green, representing life and growing. So, green is also used after Pentecost representing the growth of the Church as the apostles spread the gospel throughout the world. Purple has been used in Lent to mark the penitential nature of the season as the faithful prepare themselves for Holy Week and Easter. Holy Week, though definitely still a part of Lent, is marked by the color red because of the suffering and passion of Jesus during that week. In this case red represents the blood of Jesus for his passion and death on a cross. Black, denoting death, is used on Good Friday, the only day of the year it is used. Easter brings the joy of the resurrec-tion and Jesus’ victory over sin and death. White, which symbolizes resurrection, purity, light, joy and feast is most appropriate for Easter, funerals, Trinity Sunday, and All Saints’ Day. The day of Pentecost commemorates the Holy Spirit being given to the Church as we are told in the book of The Acts of the Apostles, “... there appeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each one of them [the apostles],” (Acts 2:3). Red represents, not only blood, but the fire of the Holy Spirit, and is used at ordinations and other times to make this association.

In recent decades, blue has been growing in use in the Church during Advent, which begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas Day. Blue is a color of hope and anticipation. During Advent we look forward to the birth of the Christ Child in a manger but also to the coming of Christ at the end of time in hopeful anticipation, something church nerds call the “eschaton.” (Yes, I am a nerd.) It has grown in popularity because Advent is not Lent and using blue is a beautiful way to distinguish between the two seasons. Advent is a time to quietly contemplate one’s life and one’s relationship with Jesus. It is a solemn season, yes, but it does not have the more penitential aura of Lent. To help make a clearer distinction, many churches are using blue for Advent.

In recognition of this distinction between Lent and Advent, the Worship Committee at St. Peter’s has decided to use blue this year during Advent. As was mentioned at our beloved “Coach’s” burial service, donations made in his memory were to be used for the purpose of purchasing these blue altar hangings. Unfortunately, it may not be until the second or third Sunday of Advent that the blue hangings and chalice burse and veil will arrive. After ordering the hangings, we realized that we needed to make a few changes, which pushed the delivery date back a couple of weeks. However, they will be here and we will have them for years to come. The Worship Committee prays that everyone will be blessed with a renewed appreciation of the Advent season as we approach the blessed birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus the Christ.