Includes Ascension Day. Easter Sunday or Resurrection Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox March The Eastern Orthodox Easter occurs a week later. The Orthodox year begins in September and includes several feasts and fasts that are not part of the Western Christian year.
It begins on November 15 and is a day season of serious fasting in preparation for the day season of Christmas. Part of what makes observing the liturgical year special is color. Different events and seasons are reflected in a variety of colors, including purple, white, green, black, red, pink, blue, gold, and some other colors as well.
The Truthful Color of God by Tho Pham
The seasonal color, usually displayed in various ways in the place of worship, reflects and augments the thematic elements of the season. So, for example, because purple is understood to symbolize penitence among other things it is used during the season of Lent. Once again, I should emphasize that there is no single color scheme either recognized by or imposed upon all Christians. In the twelfth-century, Pope Innocent II systematized the Roman Catholic color scheme, but since Vatican II in the s, Roman Catholic churches have exercised some freedom in their use of alternative or additional colors.
In recent years, many Protestant churches have moved from using purple in Advent to using royal blue. This move reflects a variety of motives, depending on the congregation. For the most part, it seems to be an effort to distinguish Advent from Lent. Blue continues to symbolize royalty and solemnity. Some churches connect blue with the color of the night sky or as a symbol of creation. A compromise popular in some congregations is the use of purplish-blue in Advent and a reddish-purple in Lent.
Such freedom in the use and interpretations of color can allow for innovation and distinctive celebration, though it can also be a bit confusing. Their material on the church year is top-notch. The chart below is my attempt to reflect what seems to be a consensus among many churches.
I will identify the day or season, along with calendar dates, themes, and common colors. Today, I want to talk a bit more about liturgical colors and their meaning. The use of color and visual art in worship is nothing new. For centuries, the Roman Catholic church incorporated elaborate artistic works in her sanctuaries. But, with the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, and especially in the Reformed branch of the Reformation my theological tradition , the perceived excesses of Catholic art in worship led to the virtual excommunication of visual art from worship.
Visual symbolism in Reformed churches was minimal cross, pulpit, baptismal font and modest. This artistic minimalism continued to be the dominant force in most evangelical churches in the United States, though some mainline Protestant churches developed visual traditions along the familiar lines of the Roman Catholic tradition. Owing partly to the pervasive influence of visual imagery in our culture, partly to the cross-pollination between different streams of Christian tradition, and partly to the power of digital projection, churches that would never have considered the use of visual art in worship have not only begun to use it, but even to major in it.
I believe that, for the most part, the rediscovery of visual art in worship is a positive development. Yet some churches have set off on the journey of liturgical art as if they were groundbreaking pioneers, rather than pilgrims traveling along a well-worn path.
These churches might do well to look into the use and occasional misuse of visual art in Christian history. We all have much to learn from the centuries of Christian worship that precede us. Or, to use a different metaphor, we who are beginning to utilize the visual in worship might just find in Christian tradition a treasure trove with gems just waiting to be used afresh. In my opinion, the colors of the Christian year are part of this treasure trove.
The intentional use of colors and color changes in worship spaces can enliven and deeper our worship, as well as add to the beauty of the experience. Colors can symbolize truth. Colors can delight the eyes. Colors can move the heart. Colors can suggest and symbolize and hint in a way that words cannot. Let me give just one example among many from the worship in Irvine Presbyterian Church, where I served as senior pastor of sixteen years. One of the most striking aspects of the worship space in this church is the cross at the front of our sanctuary. Its simplicity and power convey symbolically and emotionally the truth of the Gospel.
During my tenure as pastor, along with the members of my congregation, I meditated upon this cross many times, remembering what Jesus did for me. It impacted both the depth and the passion of my worship. The cross stands alone, not as a decoration, but as a simple image of salvation. We never hung anything from the cross, except for one day of the year: Good Friday.
Early in the morning of Good Friday, somebody draped a basic black cloth over the horizontal bar of the cross.
I knew in advance that this would be there. I was not surprised to see it. Yet, every year, when I entered our sanctuary on Good Friday and saw the black drape, my heart was struck.
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I often found myself brought to tears by that compelling yet basic symbol. This is just one example among many possibilities from my personal experience. It illustrates, I think, the potential power of color to motivate and shape our worship. Some of my readers will no doubt wonder if the use of color is consistent with biblical teaching. I would also underscore the colors of the Tabernacle in the Old Testament, not to mention the brilliant colors of the new creation as seen, for example, in Revelation Surely a God who has created such a wide spectrum of color would welcome our use of his colorful creation to worship him.
Stay tuned. In this post I want to pursue a bit further how the Christian year can enhance our worship and therefore our relationship with God. As Christians, we worship in light of the Gospel. Our worship is a response to the God who has reached out to us in Jesus Christ, saving us from sin, death, isolation, and meaninglessness. Thus, Christian worship is consistently infused with joy and gratitude. Moreover, since we worship the King of king and Lord of lords, we approach God humbly as well as boldly.
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And because God is glorious and majestic, our worship is filled with praise. At the core and in many of the details, Christian worship from day to day, from week to week, and from year to year, is essentially the same. But this is not to say that our worship should be monotonous and monochromatic. And so forth and so on. This shipping timeframe is also shown for each product on your order confirmation email and web order history.
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The Truthful Color of God
Is there any thing that tells you when? Not in these verses. But if there were I would mark that with a green circle. I mark all references to time this way. When I come to anything that tells me where— a geographical location—I double underline it in green. I mark the text and use colors for quick identification. A Note on Tools I suggest you get some fine point colored pens and pencils and use them when studying the Bible. And remember there is nothing sinful about marking your Bible.
God wants you to know and understand His Word, and this is a great way to learn and remember what you read. It works! Key Words Read Hosea again. This time, mark the word knowledge with a rectangle, or color knowledge a specific color. You are marking a key word, which is an important word that helps you unlock the meaning of the text.
Because it is key, it is repeated. After you mark a key word, list what you learn from marking it. Look at each place it is used and write down what you learn. Do it now, before you go any further. See how many of these questions you have already answered strictly from your first observations of Hosea What can we apply to our lives? Do you think people are being destroyed or ruined for a lack of knowledge of God? What would be the cure? How has your knowledge of God helped you?