Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Our New Pastor Dresses Funny Pt. 2 (Bulletin Article 3)

Since we’re already talking about clothing and clergy garb, might as well keep going in that direction.  This next one you are all likely familiar with as it has been a common vestment for the last 40 years within Lutheranism: the alb.  Though its history is much much older as it was worn from the earliest days until the 11th century, when the surplice began to be used more.  The word “alb” itself comes to us from the Latin albus meaning “white.”  Albino is probably the closest English word that we have with the same root.  Thus an alb is literally “a white robe.”  Yet symbolically and Biblically speaking, this “whiteness” means the purity, light, and glory of the resurrected Christ.  

We may think of the alb then in terms of Galatians 3:27, For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  It is for this reason that the alb derives from the baptismal garment as a sign that we have been clothed in the purity, righteousness, and eternal life of Christ.  The alb is not restricted to clergy, but because of its connection to baptism it is the common garment of all Christians.  Assisting ministers, acolytes, choristers, and anyone else who helps out in the liturgical service of the church may wear an alb.  I would add that it might even be most fitting if all who served on Sunday wore an alb to show that we are all made one in Christ by our baptism into His death and resurrection.  For it is our common baptism into His life by which we are even made able to stand and read lessons, offer prayers, and serve the most sacred gift of His body and blood.  At worship individuality fades away (John 3:30) as His Body, the Church, gathers together as one to pray the liturgy (literally liturgy means “a common act”).  That reality can be made clearer by use of wearing a common garment and apparently an alb is what awaits us all in the Resurrection:  

Behold a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”  These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation.  They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.   Revelation 7:9-10, 14         

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