Altar Guild

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Did you ever wonder how or why the Altar and Chancel area in our church change from time to time, specifically banners, colors, flowers, and candles? These changes take place with the help of ORLC’s Altar Guild.

If you would like to serve the Lord by helping with this very important task, please contact the church office for more information.

Color…color is everywhere.

Color is God’s way of filling his world with beauty and giving pleasure to those who live in this colorful world. Christians, for centuries, have used color in divine worship to emphasize the redemptive action of God through his Son.

Color, Like Music

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 nave of his/her chapel preceding worship on any given Sunday, 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

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. It serves to communicate the message of salvation. And communicate it does when it reinforces a specific “colorful” chapter in the life of our Lord and his church, retold annually by the church calendar.

Color’s Purpose

However, color and its bright message can easily be taken for granted or mistaken in its purpose. 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. That is, no doubt, the view of some. It’s true; interior design and decoration are important. But a greater service is demanded of our liturgical colors than merely making the surroundings “pretty.” Furthermore, when altar paraments are used year after year without much attention given to their message, as well as their care, the pastor, along with his faithful altar guild would do well to throw away the key to the sacristy and refrain from using those altar cloth “decorations.” Frequent instruction about the church year and its corresponding colors must go hand in hand with its weekly use.

How do you go about instructing and communicating appreciation for the colors of the church year and the seasons they support? Some liturgical creativity is in order for this task. Think of the rainbow. The rainbow is that vivid reminder of God’s promise given to Noah and his descendants. The acronym, “Roy-g-biv,” is a helpful device in remembering that beautiful object of hope, and its red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet colors. Let’s adapt that helpful device for use in taking a fresh look at the colors of the church year.

Five Basic Colors

Traditionally, five basic colors of a festive, penitential, and neutral nature have been used in most liturgical congregations. In recent times, with liturgical renewal, three additional colors (blue, scarlet, and gold) have been added to the basic five of white, red, green, violet or purple, and black.

Instead of “Roy-g-biv,” may I suggest “Bg-Bgs-Pwr?” (blue, green, black, gold, scarlet, purple, white and red) “Bg-Bgs-Pwr,” enunciated Big Bags of Power” might at first seem silly. Indeed it is! Does it have anything to do with the message of those colors? Not really! Then, why suggest such a ridiculous notion? Because, a humorous, yet effective memory technique, such as “Bg-Bgs-Pwr,” is what we may need to remember this liturgical tool and the message it conveys throughout the church year.

Each “Bg-Bgs-Pwr” color has evolved through the centuries in the community of faith to communicate a powerful message. Proclaim: A guide for planning liturgy and music by Concordia Publishing House, Manual on the Liturgy: Lutheran Book of Worship, published by Augsburg/Fortress, and the recently released Lutheran Worship: History and Practice published by Concordia Publishing House are three helpful sources of information that elaborate on the subject and the liturgical seasons they serve. A fresh look at the “Bg-Bgs-Pwr” color scheme can reawaken our appreciation for this time- honored custom.

“Colors of the Liturgical Season” By Rev. Douglas K. Escue – reprinted from LCMS website.