June 2016 Newsletter
June 1, 2016, 9:00 AM

Grace and peace to y’all during this beautiful season of the year!

Can you believe that it has already been a year since I was called to be your pastor? It has almost been a year since I have been in ministry with each of you. I remarked to Erin the other day that it is amazing how quickly this past year has flown by. I guess the tried and true statement of ‘time flies when you’re having fun’ is pretty spot on!

During this summer for the newsletter, I wanted to try something a bit different with this spot in the Reader. I’ve been asked to write a little ‘refresher’ on some of the things that we take for granted in the church or the things that we don’t necessarily notice – or at least ‘look past and through.’ Not that we don’t care about those things, but because they are always there in front of us, sometime we just don’t ‘see’ them like we used to.

So, this month, I’m going to write and share a bit about the paraments colors!

First – because I’ve been asked – what’s are paraments? Paraments are what many call the ‘altar cloths.’ The colored fabric and draping that are placed on the altar, the pulpit (where I preach from), and the lectern (where our readers speak from). The paraments also include our banners and the stoles that I wear as well.

There are different seasons of the church year and each season is designated a specific color. When I was a camp counselor and would be leading a Campfirmation Group (Confirmation Camp) we had a way to remember the seasons of the church year – ACELEP. Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, and Pentecost.

The church year is divided into two main parts. The first half (the Christmas and Easter Cycles) celebrate Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection. The second half (referred to as the season after Pentecost) and concentrates on Jesus’ public ministry.

Each season is designated a specific color to help further instill in us what that season is meant for.

Advent’s color is blue (though in some traditions it is purple). Blue is the color of hope. During Advent we wait in expectant hope for God’s advent (Latin for ‘coming’) in the birth of Christ.

Christmas’ color is white. The white paraments symbolize the light and purity of Christ and our great joy at his birth. All specific celebrations in the church that emphasize Jesus in some way are ‘white’ Sundays and seasons.

Epiphany is where things get a little ‘wonky.’ The day of Epiphany - being that it celebrates the light of Jesus – uses white paraments. However, the season of Epiphany is adorned with green paraments to symbolize our growth in knowing Jesus as God’s Son and the savior of the world and all creation.

The color of Lent is purple. This is a color of penitence. Penitence is our feeling of sorrow of knowing that we have done something wrong. Another word for penitence is repentance. During this mournful season we show great regret or remorse. Purple is a color that helps us live into that thought and belief more fully.

Easter is of course white. Throughout the seven weeks of Easter we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection. The color white in the church symbolizes purity, being set a part. On Easter Sunday – the day that we celebrate the empty tomb and Jesus’ resurrection – Redeemer uses gold paraments to celebrate the wonderful uniqueness of what the Day of Easter is. This is the only day that gold paraments are used in the church. That’s how special and significant this celebration is!

Pentecost and the Season after Pentecost are both very short and very long. The day of Pentecost is the shortest ‘season’ of the church year for it is only one day and on that day we have red paraments. The red paraments – which are also used on Reformation Day and days that the church celebrates ordinations – are reminders of the fire of the Holy Spirit. That Spirit that burns within us, sets our hearts on fire, and sends us out into the world to be re-formed, shaped, and molded into the way that God has set for us. During the Season after Pentecost the church is adorned with green paraments for 27 weeks – except for the occasional festival Sunday (Reformation [red], All Saints Day [white], and Christ the King [white]). Green again is a symbol of our spiritual growth.

So, there you have it. At least in this the first of the occasional ‘Pastor – I wish I knew more about that stuff’ Series. Much if not all of the information I used and have learned from come from S. Anita Stauffer’s seminal work Altar Guild and Sacristy Handbook. Otherwise known as the “Altar Guild Bible.”

As you look through this newsletter see and read not only where God has been at work in the life of our community of faith, but also see what God is up to and where the Spirit is guiding us and see where YOU are being invited into this life of faith at Redeemer as well!

God bless each of you and the work we all GET to do in ministry!

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