If you watch carefully in church, the colors change. Two Sundays ago clergy wore a green stole. Last week it was white. And today it’s purple. And it’s going to be purple from now until Easter. Then it will be white again. (And then red. And then green.)
We clergy sometimes assume that people just know what we are doing. But, I’m reminded that when I first really started going to church I thought that the clergy just sort of wore whatever they wanted on Sunday. Like, they were color coordinating with their shirt, or pants.
I put the purple on Wednesday night, as we held our Ash Wednesday service. The purple in the stoles that clergy wear this time of year is a reminder penitence, or mourning, or suffering. We come before God looking for reconciliation, and we follow the journey of Jesus as he was tested, and tried, and ultimately killed for who he was.
Purple is a reminder of what the season is about. It signifies the bigger story.
But it’s not the end of the story. There’s something else it symbolizes too. Purple has often been called the color of kings, which is part of why we wear it. We proclaim Christ sovereign over our life. Not any other person. Not any other situation or struggle. Christ.
He’s not a typical ruler. He rejects the kingdoms of the world when offered to him. He turns away from domination. He chooses something better. And that’s what I want to give my allegiance to. To the child of God who knew what it was like to wrestle with faith. To a person who knew what it was to feel pain, and grief and doubt. And to a God who chooses us.
In Lent we have the choice to the option to give our allegiance to a better way. Because God’s love is waiting for us, in Lent, and always.