Holy Cross Paraments

Parament or Paraments come from the Latin word paramentum, adornment, which in turn is derived from parare, to prepare or equip). The terms refer to the liturgical hangings on and around the altar/Communion table and pulpit and lectern. The terms vestments refers to liturgical clothing worn by clergy and other leaders. A pastor or other leader may, for instance, wear a stole, a symbol of one’s ordination, which corresponds to the colors in the paraments.
 
The paraments change to reflect the liturgical season or season of the church year. The liturgical calendar begins with the season of Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas and progress through the year remembering events in the life of Jesus and other holy days and seasons.
 
The colors used for paraments have symbolic meaning and the cloths may be adorned with particular symbols as well. Most of the paraments of Holy Cross have been created by fabric artists and purchased through religious supply companies, while the paraments for the Lenten season have been hand-crafted by Holy Cross members.

History

A unified system of colors in the Christian tradition developed only gradually and haphazardly until and through the Middle Ages. Today, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) provides a system of colors for use by its congregations, which is, for the most part, also used by other Christian churches in the United States and by many churches around the world. Other cultures may attribute different symbolic meaning to colors, however.

Advent

 
Blue is associated with Advent, suggesting hope. Some congregations use purple or violet in Advent, a color associated with royalty as the church awaits the newborn king.
 
The Holy Cross Advent cloth features a crown in accordance with this image for Jesus as king. The cross is formed by the Greek letters tau (T) and rho (P) which together is also called a staurogram, an abbreviation for stauros, the Greek word for cross.
 
The purple of Advent has a different symbolic meaning than when it is used in Lent. (see ‘Lent’).

Christmas

 
White, calling to mind the purity of the newborn Christ, and to our light and joy in him. Gold is another primary color during Christmas.
 
The letters in gold above the brown cross on the Holy Cross parament are the Greek letters chi (Χ) and rho (Ρ), the first two letters of Greek Khristos, Christ.
 
The letters alpha (Α) and omega (Ω), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet, recall the phrase “I am the alpha and omega” and signal that God or Jesus is the beginning and the end or present at creation and throughout time.
 
White is used for Christmas Eve and Day and the Christmas season, the Transfiguration of Jesus, Easter and the Easter Season, Trinity Sunday, All Saints Day, and Christ the King Sunday.

Lent

 
This purple parament was hand-crafted by Holy Cross members.
 
When Holy Cross needed new Lent paraments, members Lauren Lindstrom and Diane Tory designed and made the purple parament.
 
Most of the cloth came from donations to the quilt group.
 
Fat quarters of cloth, which had been hand-dyed by women in Africa,.were purchased from a fair trade organization.
 
When the quilt group gathered in the sanctuary to view the completed cloth on the table, they “found” the crosses in the parament, which Diane later outlined with black cord to highlight them.
 
A a matching pastor’s stole and pulpit cloth completes the Lenten set of paraments.

Day of Pentecost

 
 
Red as the color of fire is used on this day when we remember the tongues of fire descended on the crowd in Jerusalem. In contrast to the color of scarlet, Pentecost’s red is a bright color.
 
 

Ash Wednesday

 
 
Purple is the preferred color as this is the first day of Lent. Purple is typically associated with Lent, suggesting repentance and solemnity. Historically, black has also been used on this day, since it is the color of the ashes to which we will all return. For Ash Wednesday 2017 at Holy Cross the table was bare, which is in keeping with the simplicity of the season.
 

Sunday of the Passion

 
Scarlet is the preferred color of this first day of Holy Week, as it suggests the deep color of blood.
 
Scarlet is to be distinguished from the brighter color of red, which is appointed for the Day of Pentecost and certain church celebrations like a pastor’s ordination or installation.
 
If a parish does not have scarlet (Holy Cross does not), purple may be used.

Holy Week

Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday
Scarlet or purple may be used
 
Maundy Thursday
The fourth day celebrates the institution of the Lord’s Supper.
Scarlet or white is used.
 
Good Friday
No vestments or paraments are used on this day, after the stripping of the altar on Maundy Thursday night.

Green Ordinary

 
 

Green is the color for the season known as “Ordinary Time” or, as we are in right now, the Season after Pentecost, the longest particular season of the church year.

 

Ordinary Time or Time after Epiphany and Time after Pentecost:

Green is used during these two particular times during the church year and symbolizes growth in Christ. The word ordinary comes from the word ordinal and is used in this sense to mean counted time rather than “common” or “mundane.” (In math an ordinal number is first, second, third, and so on.) To count Sundays during this season, we say, for instance, “The fourth Sunday after Pentecost.”

The green Holy Cross parament features the cup, grapes, and bread of Communion and a lit candle.

Counted time after Pentecost always begins with Trinity Sunday (the first Sunday after Pentecost) and ends with Christ the King Sunday or the Reign of Christ the King (last Sunday before the beginning of Advent).

Luther Rose Banner

 
 
This banner created by Nellie Namestka which depicts the Luther Rose is displayed on the niche wall at the front entrance to the fellowship hall. The most enduring symbol of the Lutheran Reformation is the seal that Luther himself designed to represent his theology. By the early 1520s, this seal begins to appear on the title page of Luther’s works.
 
The black cross symbolizes Jesus’ death and pain and reminds us that it is faith in the Crucified One that saves us.
“For one who believes from the heart will be justified” – Romans 10:10.
 
The Heart remains its natural color because even though the cross is black, it does not kill our hearts, it doesn’t destroy nature, it does not kill us but keeps us alive,
“The just shall live by faith in the Crucified One”
Romans 1:17.
 
The white rose shows that faith gives joy, comfort, and peace—it puts the believer into a white, joyous rose.
Faith in Jesus brings true joy, consolation and peace, not worldly joy and peace”
John 14:27
White is the color of the spirits and angels
cf. Matthew 28:3; John 20:12
 
The sky-blue field symbolizes our hope for the coming joys of heaven.  Future joy, which begins now, but is grasped in hope, not yet fully revealed.
 
Around the field of blue is a golden ring to symbolize that blessedness in heaven lasts forever and has no end. Heavenly blessedness is exquisite, beyond all joy and better than any possessions, just as gold is the most valuable and precious metal.