Why Do You Wear a Robe?
Rev. David Schmidt
August 28, 2019
Greetings from your new pastor! I hope everyone had a great summer. For my family and me, it has been a time of transition; saying goodbye to the familiar and beginning a new adventure in Northwest Arkansas. I want to thank everyone for the warm welcome we have received here. We are very excited to be part of God’s family at Faith Lutheran Church.
As I settle in as your pastor, I thought that a good way for you to get to know me better is for me to write a monthly article that will show up on the website and will also be attached to the congregational email blast. I want to use this correspondence as a way of answering questions you may have and addressing topics of interest to me. For this first article, I want to address a question that has come up. The question is, “Why do you wear a robe during the worship service?”
Let me start by telling you what it is I wear. The white robe is called an alb, and the strip of fabric draped around my neck and over my shoulders is called a stole. The color of the stole changes throughout the year to reflect the season in the church calendar, similar to the paraments that hang over the altar. Together the alb and stole are referred to as vestments.
So why do pastors wear vestments? Let me start by asking this. How do you know when you come across a police officer? He or she is wearing a uniform. Uniforms tell you what people do. A police officer wears a uniform, a judge wears a black robe, a nurse wears scrubs and so on. Vestments are like a uniform. When you see someone wearing vestments, it leaves little doubt about his profession. When I wear vestments in the worship service, they are visual reminders to the congregation that I have been called to serve as your pastor. I have been called to serve you as your shepherd, and that means, during the worship service, I am the one called to proclaim the Word of God and to administer the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion.
I hope that no one would get the impression that I wear the vestments as a way to stand out or to set myself apart. It isn’t to set me apart as an individual, but to set apart the pastoral office. I believe the vestments help everyone who comes to worship know that the person who stands before them conducting the worship service is there for one reason, to point them to Jesus.
I look forward to continuing these articles in the future. If you have any questions you would like me to address, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.