The coat that we wear says a lot about us. Many choose mountain hiking/climbing outwear, though they live in the city and rarely venture out. To some, the look of the coat matters less than the brand label that is attached. Others select a color that is slimming, wary of the addition of another layer over an already ‘layered’ physique.
Our outerwear says a lot about us; it speaks before we do. Our coat makes a statement about what is important to us… or what isn’t important to us.
When Genesis’ Jacob gave his 11th son an exquisite coat that was fit for royalty rather than work, it made an impression on his brothers. In fact, it was a symbol of epic proportions. The robe spoke of Joseph’s status and otherness.
Joseph’s colorful coat set him apart from everyone around him.
This helps to explain why the Early Church desired to design a religious calendar that differed from the Jewish, secular, and educational calendars. The Jewish calendar of seasons and celebrations, for example, was built around the exodus from Egypt.The Early Church wanted their time to revolve around Christ and salvation history. Click To Tweet
For Christ followers, their sequence of celebrations would become an annual journey as “they kneel at the manger, listen on a hillside, walk the streets of Jerusalem, hear the roar of the mob, stand beneath the cross, and witness the resurrection! The rest of the church year provides opportunity to reflect on the meaning of the coming of Jesus and his commission to his people to be a light to the world.”1
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Each season of celebration has it’s own coordinating color, together creating something of a coat of many colors for the church to cover itself.
When the church wraps itself in this calendar of colors, it alerts the broader culture that the church is set apart.
It reminds us that the church is something “other” and that our status comes from God.
Many churches have lost the beautiful displays of color that come with the rhythms of the church year. Many more churches have lost the rhythms of the church year completely, excepting Christmas and Easter perhaps. And even those are shadows of their former selves.
Perhaps it is time to rethink the colors and seasons of the church year, breathing new life into them and the redemptive story of Jesus that runs through the Bible like a scarlet thread.
What might it look like to re-imagine an amazing technicolor church year?
PRACTICE: Spend some time re-imagining the Church Calendar, its seasons, and colors.