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The Colors of the Church Seasons

Color, like music, plays an important role in the life of God's worshiping people. Just as music is the "handmaiden to theology," liturgical color complements the message of the seasons and occasions during the church year. Taking a familiar seat in the sanctuary preceding worship on any given Sunday, and the worshiper's emotions and intellect are immediately engaged by color. Liturgical colors aid in establishing a climate in which Law and Gospel may be heard and received.

Color, like light which is its source, is most helpful when it is pleasing as well as stimulating to the senses. However, let's never forget its primary role in divine worship: Color allows us to see the Light of Life, Jesus Christ. At Richfield Evangelical Lutheran Church, we see light reflected in our beautiful Christ window throughout the year in many different ways, depending on the location of the sun and the cloud cover of the morning.  At RELC, we follow the liturgical calendar.   The paraments, vestments, altar clothes, banners, traditionally employed each Sunday, must be seen as more than an attempt to decorate, or give accent to the chancel. They reflect the liturgical season we are currently in. 

Traditionally, five basic colors of a festive, penitential, and neutral nature have been used in most liturgical congregations. At RELC we use blue, white, purple, red, green, and black.  Following the church calendar (that begins with Advent in December) here is a brief listing of what colors go with what seasons:

BLUE is the more contemporary color increasingly used by many congregations in their observance of a new church year. Advent takes place four weeks prior to Christmas

WHITE is the color Christmas and Epiphany and takes us through Transfiguration Sunday - the Sunday before Ash Wednesday.

PURPLE is the color of Lent and is used in church settings from Ash Wednesday through Maundy Thursday.

BLACK  is seen very seldom during the year. It appears on Good Friday and is seen on the altar and cross.  The absense of light and the stark surrounding of the sanctuary send a sobering message of Good Friday.

WHITE is used for the season of Easter that takes us from Easter Sunday 50 days to the beginning of Pentecost.

RED is used on Pentecost Sunday and then during the season of Pentecost, the paraments change to Green. Red is also used in late October for Reformation Sunday.

GREEN is by far the most common color seen during the year. Lutheran Worship calls for its use during the seasons Pentecost.

On Christ the King Sunday, in late November, Richfield Evangelical Lutheran Church celebrates the church year by combining every color of the liturgical season into a celebration worship that leads us through the many seasons of the church before we start a new church year, the next Sunday, the beginning of Advent.

We invite you to join us any Sunday morning for worship at see the many colors of the church seasons reflected in our rainbow effected Christ Window at Richfield Lutheran at 9:30am.