The Wearing of the Green
by Rev. Canon Stewart Murray, Incumbent at St Barnabas, Ottawa
in May 2018 issue of ‘Crosstalk,' the newspaper of the Angican Diocese of Ottawa
The season after Pentecost or Trinity is called by some the long season of the green. They are referring, of course, to the colour of the church year that we will use until Advent. During the Easter season, we have had almost a riot of colours – white, gold, and red – but for the next six months, it will be the Wearing of the Green!
In the wisdom of our tradition, green is seen as the colour of growth and renewal. In our part of the world, following Easter, we enter the glorious time of spring after a long and sometimes dreary winter. I know I look forward to seeing the fresh green of the budding leaves on the trees and of the garden turning from a lifeless brown to a multihued living carpet of green. There is a sense of a new beginning and of life returning. The season of green in the Church is a reminder that we are called to grow into the Good News of Easter and to live our Easter faith in the midst of the world. We are as the Body of Christ, the ‘first fruits’ of the new creation through the Risen Christ.
To help us grow into the fullness of our new life, we have been surrounded by a multitude of examples in the Saints of the past and of the saints who are part of our world today. For me, the Blessed Virgin Mary is the example I find most helpful as I seek to grow in Christ. Traditionally, May is celebrated as Mary’s month. The theme of her faithfulness and courage in becoming the Mother of Christ and in giving life to the Redeemer of the world is linked to the idea of creation coming to birth in the spring. As Mary nurtured the life of the growing Jesus in her womb, so we are called to nurture and grow into Christ.
Sacred Scripture gives us insight into how we can live our Easter faith following Mary’s example. In the first two chapters of the Gospel of Luke, the angel is sent to Mary to invite her to become the Mother of Jesus, and as the story unfolds, we read of her questions and doubts as she struggles to come to terms with the request from God. Yet, in spite of her doubts and questions, she puts her trust in God’s grace and love, and answers yes – ‘Behold the handmaiden of the Lord – be it unto me according to Your word’. After the visit by the shepherds and their telling of the vision and message of the heavenly host, Mary ‘treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart’. How often, in the rush of our busy days, we fail to take time to reflect on our life, to treasure the good and the beautiful in our lives, to take time to prayerfully reflect on our day and see Christ at work in us and in the lives of those with whom we live and work.
Throughout the Gospels, Mary is seen supporting and encouraging the disciples and those seeking Jesus. The ministry of encouragement to others as they explore the faith of Christ is one that is needed in our parishes. I know, in my faith journey, God placed many good people who encouraged and at times challenged me, and helped me to grow in Christ.
In this season of wearing the green, let us follow Mary’s example and together grow in love of Christ and of one another.