I saw a question on Twitter this morning that asked:
“Are you wearing red today?”
To some of you this may seem like a strange question so allow me to put it into context. Today is Pentecost Sunday (liturgical color: Red). This is the Sunday when we recognize the giving of the Holy Spirit to the disciples in Acts 2. A great story of the birth of the church and the work of the Holy Spirit. But I have serious problems with this question and the encouraging of people to wear red today (other than the fact that we don’t encourage people to wear clothing to match other liturgical colors throughout the year).
Think about it: If you were to visit a church on Pentecost Sunday (not knowing what this day was or forgetting it was Pentecost) and upon entering the church you notice a sea of people wearing red, what would your first thoughts be?
For me I would:
(1) Start to wonder if there was a special celebration going on that I wasn’t invited to. I might be a little leery about going in; thinking I was crashing a party.
(2) Wonder if people were looking at me wondering why I didn’t wear red today. Kind of like going to a Vikings tailgate party and not wearing purple and gold.
(3) Feel like an outsider; not part of the group. Kind of like wearing a Packers jersey to a Vikings tailgate party.
(4) Feel left out; like I am not wanted in this group…like a Packers fan at a Vikings tailgate party 🙂
(5) Probably not return to that church…because I would not want to feel like this again.
The encouraging of people to wear red on Pentecost (and Reformation Sunday…the other Sunday people are encouraged to wear red) is done in order to give those Sundays a special emphasis; not to isolate visitors. But it does have that effect. So I have stopped inviting people to wear red. If they do…great. Will I wear my red stole today? Absolutely. But I want ALL people to feel welcome.
Think about that today and other Sundays:
~ Are there things that we do in our churches that might cause people to feel like outsiders?
~ Are we truly welcoming communities?
~ When visitors walk into the church do they feel like they are wanted?
~ When visitors attend worship do they feel self-conscience about not knowing the “rules” of the church?
Let’s not become so comfortable that we exclude others. Make it a point to say “hi” to someone who is visiting and befriend them. Don’t let your church become an exclusive club but an inclusive family…the Body of Christ.
So don’t wear red today…wear the love of Christ.