Why Do All Participants in the Service Vest?

The work of worship is holy work. And those who are participating in leading the worship are often expected to wear distinctive attire. The primary color is white – a color symbolic of purity. Probably the basic attire for Holy Eucharist is the alb, which originally was simply a tunic worn by the citizens of ancient Rome. Sometimes this is tied around the waist with a cincture. Then for the priests, there is a stole, which is a strip of cloth (often in the color of the church season) that is hung around the neck. The deacon wears the stole diagonally across the body. Often the priest who is celebrating the Eucharist will wear a chasuble (an outer vestment that is normally in the color of that represents the season of the church year) on top of the alb.

Often you will find choir members and acolytes also wear a surplice and/or alb. The total effect of all this distinctive attire is to invite us to appreciate the significance and privilege of worship. Most events and activities require distinctive attire – you wear soccer gear to play soccer and black tie when at an important reception or dinner. So at church, those who are playing an important role in the leading of worship dress appropriately.

Question: What impact does it have on you as you watch the procession of all these people in different attire?