This stole carries a lot of transitions.
I wore it – white side out – today for Transfiguration. By (Ash) Wednesday I will turn it over for purple, the color of Lent. Today I read the Gospel when Jesus’ robes were turned dazzling white, and God spoke directly to the inner circle of disciples saying, “This is my Son; listen to him!” Then I preached about the shadows in that scene of dazzling light, to a small congregation about to get some very disappointing news: the pastor they were eagerly anticipating is not coming after all.
So I showed them my stole.
It’s not just a job well done by whomever made my stole, that the celebratory festival/season and penitential season of anticipated grief are sewn together, back-to-back. There’s more transition, joy and grief in it than even that.
My family bought this stole at the Poznan Cathedral, the oldest in all of Poland, while adopting our oldest daughter. Adoption creates a resurrection, new life for an entire family, but the new life only and always comes out of fear and grief.
“I will wear this stole before you, every week for awhile,” I said. “It will seem like a long time on one side, but eventually we’ll see the other side again.” At Easter.