Surprises are nice, because often they are unexpected. This morning, there was a surprise at our church. What surprise might you ask? A new set of Rose Vestments in time for Laetare Sunday! I arrived at about 7:30 bearing the surprise in my arms. The surprise was a bit of the unexpected, even for myself.
On Thursday evening, the plan for the weekend was to cut out one or two chalice veils for the rose vestment set and finish the final post on the making on chalice veils. That was the plan for Ecclesiastical Sewing projects for the weekend. Nothing more, nothing major in the works. Then before I knew it, a Rose stole was cut from the Rose fabric before the evening ended. After all, stoles are easy to put together. On Friday, the day ended with two Rose Chalice Veils completed. A Rose Altar frontal and superfrontal were also cut, pieced, and seamed together, along with a Rose pulpit fall, and orphrey trim for a stole. The plan? There really was no plan. It was ridiculous to think that a frontal and superfrontal, pulpit fall, and stole could be completed in time for Laetare Sunday, two days away. But still…..isn’t there a passage that says, “With God, all things are possible.” I would need an army of angel tailors to help complete an Ecclesiastical Sewing set this large in two days…impossible, really.
The Chalice veil–well actually two–Rose chalice veils were complete.
The Rose Pulpit Fall was done. Could the Rose altar frontal and stole be completed in time for Sunday service? The fabrics had been approved by our Pastor prior to being purchased a year ago, but time had not allowed for its completion. So from that stand point it was fine to continue with the surprise. This was the last time our Pastor would be with us on Laetare Sunday. He loved the idea of having Rose Vestments. The design game plan was a simple set using orphreys and gallon trim. At one point, the plan was to add an IHS symbol to the Rose Vestments… but that would need to change for this weekend. The IHS symbol can always be added at a later date. So could the Rose Vestment Set be ready so Pastor could wear Rose as a parish Pastor – at least once? His last Sunday with our congregation will be on Easter Sunday. The clock was ticking. A few stumbling blocks fell along the path as a deterrent. Thoughts and concerns crept in: the congregation has NO IDEA about the history or appropriate use of Rose Vestments. They have not been prepared for this…. what will their reaction be? Keep sewing! I hate to come in at the last-minute without giving Pastor a heads up about new vestments and disrupting his plans for Service at the very last moment…..Keep sewing……………..
At 6:45 a.m., those wonderful word that every seamstress loves to hear were uttered: It is finished. Rose Vestments for use today on Laetare Sunday during the season of Lent were ready. The joy on my Pastor’s face and his surprise were well worth the effort. I usually like to prepare both him and the congregation in advance, regarding the history, the materials being used and the like before a new vestment set appears. This Rose Vestment Set happened too quickly and unexpectedly to allow for that. There was the expected surprise, the wonder, the confusion as expected among the parishioners. The use of Rose Vestments during Gaudete Sunday in Advent and Laetare Sunday during Lent has gained popularity over the years, with a few more vestment makers adding Rose Vestments to their lines. But in the average smaller church outside the mainstream, whether LCMS or otherwise, it is completely unknown why a set of “pink vestments” would be hanging on the altar and their pastor or priest during the fourth Sunday in the Season of Lent. Color conveys a sense of meaning and can greatly enhance the worship service. During the long penitential season of Lent, the slight break with Laetare Sunday serves as a reminder: in the midst of the wilderness, when we are getting closer to Good Friday, and Easter still seems so very far away, this bright little glimmer of rose serves as a reminder of the greater joy still to come. There were a few of the usual comments by those who do not easily accept change, but does all of that matter? Not really. What matters is that the set is made to thank the Lord for the many gifts He has so freely bestowed on me. The second is to provide proper vestments and hangings for use in our church and by our Pastor. The third is to help others learn a little about what proper vestments are and to help others who may have a desire to use their skills in creating beautiful vestments for use in the church.
Using Rose Vestments during Advent and Lent varies among differing church bodies. The New Liturgical Movement has some information in the historical use of Rose Vestments within the Catholic Church. The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod’s view on Rose Vestments is slightly different. If a Rose Vestment Set is desired or planned for your church, be sure to check with your pastor or bishop concerning appropriate use and guidelines for liturgical colors. So were Rose Vestments in use at your parish this week?
Solo Dei Gloria
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Filed under: Altar Frontal, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Gaudete Sunday, Laetare Sunday, Pulpit Fall, Rose Vestments Tagged: Altar Frontal, Ecclesiastical Sewing, Gaudete Sunday, Laetare and Gaudete Sunday, Laetare Sunday, Lenten Vestments, Pulpit Fall, Rose Vestments