The Color Red

About this time 6 years ago I had recently graduated from seminary, which was a huge accomplishment in my life. It also marked a major transition as well.  For nearly my entire life I had been a student. From the time I was in Mrs. Newson’s nursery school class all the way through high school and then straight onto college and from college immediately enrolling in seminary.  And so, it was a bittersweet summer as I knew my time as a student had ended and my time as an “adult” was about to begin. 

That time was full of special moments, but one of the more special for me was picking out and ordering my clergy robe. At that time the seminary had a Cokesbury bookstore and we could go there to look at catalogues, try on robes, and talk to a sales person who knew the ins and outs of ordering a robe. And so I went down to the bookstore and got my catalogue and quickly found out that there were far more choices than I anticipated. And like any good millennial who is overwhelmed by an important life decision, I called my mom for help. She was a pastor after all and years ago she too ordered her robe and would be able to help me navigate all these choices. 

We talked on the phone and she mentioned that when she was choosing the details for her own robe all those years ago she paid extra to add red piping along the velvet panels on either side of the front of her robe. For one thing it set her robe apart from all the other plain black robes, but more importantly it was a reminder of the Holy Spirit. Red has often been the color we associate with the third person of the Trinity and that is why this Sunday in worship as we celebrate Pentecost we will wear red and have red decorations in the church. But this thin piping of red on my robe is a beautiful reminder of my connection to my mom and her life in ministry and also a reminder of the Holy Spirit, which is at work in my life and in my ministry. I am so grateful for the Spirit – for its guidance, its strength, its inspiration and so much more.