Chameleon Season

In one of the Lutheran congregations I served, the chair of the Altar Guild called this time of year the "Chameleon Season." This was because the "Color of the Day" changes so often. The paraments on the pulpit, lectern, and altar; as well as the stoles and chasubles worn by the clergy, change almost every Sunday as we end the church year with a variety of special days.

This year, Good Shepherd will observe Reformation Sunday on October 28. Father Bill decided to do this in recognition not only of your erstwhile Lutheran pastor, but also as a way of remembering and celebrating the fact that The Episcopal Church and my denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are in "full communion" with one another.

On Reformation Sunday, Lutherans traditionally remember Martin Luther and the other 16th century reformers. The theme of the day is that the church is called to always remain open to change in response to the leading of the Holy Spirit. The color of the day is Red, just like at Pentecost and Ordinations, and Celebrations of New Ministries - because red is the color of the Pentecostal flame of the Holy Spirit.

Lutheran laypeople often wear red to church on Reformation Sunday. Although All Saints Day is Nov. 1 and All Souls Day (also known as "Commemoration of the Faithful Departed") is Nov. 2, we will observe both on Sunday, Nov. 4. Part of the observance will be reading the names of the Faithful Departed and praying for them. (There is a sign-up sheet on the bulletin board in the hall if you wish to have a name included.) The color of the day is White, signifying the Resurrection. This comes from Revelation 7:9 "After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands."

On November 11 and November 18, we are back to Ordinary Time, also known as the "Sundays after Pentecost" and the color Green. The season after Pentecost is green because it is a time in which we focus on the steady growth of discipleship and maturity in the faith.

November 11 is Veterans Day and we will observe it with appropriate hymnody, prayers and thanks to our veterans for their service. November 18 is my last Sunday as your Sabbatical Pastor. (I suggest we celebrate it with a hearty rendition of "Now Thank We All Our God!")

On November 22, Father Bill will be back and will lead the congregation in the celebration of Thanksgiving Day with a service in the nave at 11:00 AM, followed by a dinner in the Parish Hall. The color of the day is White. We finish off the month with Christ the King Sunday (also White) - the last Sunday in the church year. It is a relatively new addition to the church calendar, instituted by Pope Pius XI in the 1920's. Issuing his proclamation following World War I, Pius noted that while the war was over, there was no true peace. He lamented the continued divisions between people based on class, economic status, race, gender, and "unbridled nationalism." He was especially concerned about the rise of totalitarian states in Russia and Italy and the growth of fascism in Eastern Europe and Germany. Christ the King was instituted to remind Christians that our highest loyalty belongs not to our country, class, or party, but to Christ because, as Saint Paul reminds us in Galatians 3:28, "There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or femals; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus."

And just for good measure on the color change chart – Dec. 2, the Sunday after Christ the King is the first Sunday in Advent and the color is Blue – a sign of hope (not because the baby Jesus was a boy, as one of my confirmation students wrongly wrote on her confirmation class "final paper.") If you're keeping count, that's six Sundays and five changes of parament colors. Oh and by the way the bishop will be visiting on December 2. Pray for your Altar Guild this month.

+ Delmer

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