Our Lutheran Confessions say that the Lutheran churches will continue to use the vestments
that were in common use in the Church at the time of the Reformation.
This is one of the ways in which the Church of the Reformation shows herself
not to be a new invention,
but rather a restoration to health for the Church of Christ,
which has always been in existence,
ever since the time of the Apostles.
Vestments emphasise the character of Christian worship as a solemn celebration
in which Christ Himself comes to His Church and His Christians
to give Himself to us, with His salvation.
The chasuble is worn by the leading liturgist at Communion services.
Because the Sacrament of the Altar is the centre of Lutheran worship,
and what gives the entire Communion service its character,
the Pastor will wear the chasuble all through the Communion service,
when he is before the Altar,
and when he reads from the Lectern.
The chasuble will not be worn on the pulpit, however,
where the Pastor will instead wear the stole
as an indicator of his authorisation from Christ Himself
to preach and teach on His behalf, and with His authority.
In Antiquity, purple was considered the colour of royalty.
And when Pilate’s soldiers mockingly saluted our Lord Jesus as king,
they clothed Him in a purple robe.
Therefore the colour purple has to His Church become the colour of penitence ,
reminding us of how we mock our God and King with our disobedience and unbelief.
It is the colour of the penitential seasons Advent and Lent.
White is the festive colour,
symbolising light, purity, and joy.
It is the colour for the High Feasts of the Church Year,
such as Christmas and Easter,
and individual festival days
such as Epiphany, the Baptism of our Lord, the Annunciation,
the Ascension of our Lord, All Saints Day, etc.
Red is the colour of fire,
and therefore it is used to point to the Holy Spirit,
who brings the fire of the love of God to the Church.
Accordingly, red is used for Pentecost,
Red is also, for obvious reasons, the colour of blood,
and when it is used for Feasts for the Church and her witness,
such as Reformation Day, Apostles’ days,
and memorial feasts for preachers and teachers,
the red points to the blood of the Church’s servants,
shed through the ages,
as well as to the living presence of Christ in His Church,
giving His own life to His Christians, with His Holy Spirit.
Green is the colour of growth.
It is used during the meditative seasons
following the feasts for the great events of salvation history
– that is: the season of Epiphany, following Christmas,
and the season following Easter and Pentecost –
during which seasons
the Church of Christ is to grow in her understanding
of the great truths she has celebrated.
Photos from Grace Lutheran Church
and Zion Lutheran Church
courtesy of Gabriela Tinglund