Have you ever wondered what the colors at the front of the church mean? What do they symbolize? Why do they change on certain Sundays? Today's post is all about colors - purple, white, green, and red. These are the primary colors of the liturgical church year and each one symbolizes something about our faith and our spiritual walk.
PURPLE is the color of royalty and penitence, of wisdom, creativity, and nobility. It's a calming color, one we use during periods of preparation and reflection - Advent, the season before Christmas and Lent, the season before Easter.
WHITE is the color of joy and celebration, of renewal and cleansing, and newness. It represents purity and goodness and hope. In the church year, white is used during seasons of celebration - Christmas/Epiphany and Easter - and on special Sundays like Transfiguration Sunday, Trinity Sunday, All Saints' Day, and Reign of Christ Sunday.
GREEN is the color of growth and new life. We use this color the most throughout the church year - all during Ordinary Time. "Ordinary Time" means measured time, marked days of the journey, of our walk with the Lord. It's a time of growth and learning and community and moving forward.
RED is the color of fire, passion, and love. It's bold and strong and vital. Red is used to symbolize Christ's passion during Holy Week and the gift of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost Sunday.
Likewise, each season of the church year represents an important part of our faith, our understanding of who God is, and our spiritual journey. I talk a lot about these rhythms and familiar patterns, but I feel like they are so important. There's something so valuable about these traditions and practices, remembering the cornerstones of our faith and reconnecting with the stories that our faith is built on.
In case you're new to the liturgical church year, here is a quick overview:
The church year begins on the first Sunday of Advent (usually the Sunday after Thanksgiving). There are six primary seasons of the church year:
Season After Epiphany
Season After Pentecost
I'm a visual learner, so I thought it might be helpful to actually show you what the church year looks like (plus, who doesn't love a good infographic?). Learn more about each of these seasons and the associated colors in the graphic below:
Does your church follow the liturgical calendar? How do you incorporate these colors in worship throughout the year?