21 June 2013

"the Church's Colours"

I happened to pick up a little booklet we have, called A Pocket Guide to the Anglican Church, and noticed for the first time the section on liturgical colors. I like the use of the verb "wears" here:


The red, green and amber of traffic lights control the flow of traffic because motorists understand what these colours mean. Similarly the green/yellow, brown and blue wires in an electric cable indicate which wire is earth, live and neutral. 

The Church has used colours since the 12th Century to tell the faithful the sort of mood she is in. There are four principal colours, viz violet, white, red and green.

underlays for the Holy Family on the focal shelf
When the Church wears:

Violet she is in a solemn mood. Violet is the colour of penitence and is used particularly for the seasons of Advent (the four weeks before Christmas), and Lent (the forty days before Easter).

White she is in a happy and festive mood.

Red she is commemorating the death of someone who shed his [or her] blood for the Faith. We call these people martyrs. Red is also the colour used on Whitsunday, because it symbolizes the tongues of fire. 

Green she is in a natural mood. Green is the colour of nature and is used during the seasons of Epiphany and Trinity. 


from A Pocket Guide to the Anglican Church, p.43
by Ronald H. Lloyd
first published 1980, revised 1988 

I added the words "or her" myself! :)

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