Sermon Seeds: Choices and Consequences

Third Sunday after Pentecost
Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Proper 5 Year B


Lectionary citations:
1 Samuel 8:4-11, (12-15), 16-20 with Psalm 138
Genesis 3:8-15 with Psalm 130
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
Mark 3:20-35

Worship resources for the 3rd Sunday after Pentecost, 10th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Proper 5 Year B) are at Worship Ways

Sermon Seeds

Focus Scripture:
Mark 3:20-35

Focus Theme:
Choices and Consequences

by Kathryn Matthews

Preachers on this Tenth Sunday in Ordinary Time in 2018 are given the opportunity to address an unusual passage from the Gospel of Mark that falls on a Sunday in the Lectionary (Proper 5 Year B) that does not always occur in the church calendar. More than one scholar does not hesitate to warn of the difficulty of this text; for example, Nibs Stroupe observes that it is “rooted in conflict and danger,” and Judith Hoch Wray calls Mark 3:29 “one of the most problematic and misused texts in the Gospels” (Feasting on the Word Year B, Vol. 3).

Perhaps we should not be surprised, then, if many preachers find it too difficult to tackle, and take on the challenge of a sermon on the curses in Genesis instead–a passage, of course, with plenty of dangers of its own.

A bit of chaos in the scene

This scene from the early part of Jesus’ ministry, right after he has chosen his twelve apostles, feels almost as chaotic to read about as it must have seemed to those gathered around Jesus. It might be helpful to get a sense of how the Gospel of Mark itself feels–it’s no leisurely story with nice, long sermons and extended conversations (think the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew, and the woman at the well, or Nicodemus, in John). The Marcan Jesus is on the move constantly, like a man on a mission with little time to spare and even less patience with people who like to criticize everything he does.

We’re only in the third chapter of Mark now, but a quick read of those first chapters is exhausting: Jesus has gone from his hometown to the wilderness to Galilee to the sea to Capernaum to a house to a deserted place and back out to the towns of Galilee (in just the first chapter) and then back to Capernaum and home, and then to the sea, and to Levi’s house, though the grain fields and to the synagogue, and then back to the sea, into a boat, before heading up the mountain where he gathers those twelve apostles around him, and then, finally, he goes home.

Imagine all this travel with desperate crowds around him (people “from every quarter,” 1:45), clinging to him, begging for healing, begging to be released from the demons that had hold of them, and then picture a group of carping critics picking at everything he did–breaking the rules about healing on the Sabbath, eating with tax collectors and sinners, and not fasting as they should. In other words, finding it more lawful to meet human need than to let human suffering go on unnecessarily: Jesus understood the heart of God’s Law.

The need and the suffering are so great

Of course, we can understand that the crowds couldn’t help themselves: who among us would not do whatever it took to get our sick child, for example, to a healer who was doing the amazing things being attributed to Jesus? Still, it’s poignant to see how Jesus couldn’t even go home and have a meal in peace (a practice with much greater significance in that culture than we allow in our own).

In chapter two, people dig through his roof and drop a paralyzed person right next to him, hoping for a cure, and after admiring their faith and handling the criticism of the scribes when he forgives the man’s sins, Jesus tells the man to get up and walk. That healing amazes the crowd, of course, and makes Jesus even more sought-after, but it really gets the attention of the powers that be, which explains why they’re back again, all the way from Jerusalem, here in the third chapter, as Jesus tries once more to go into a house for a break from all this activity.

The problems with crowd control persist, so much so that Jesus can’t even have supper with his friends, his disciples. But he isn’t surrounded only by people who were willing to admit their brokenness and their need, along with those institutional critics who, we suspect by this time, are looking to find fault with Jesus rather than to affirm the wonderful thing God is doing in him. The growing crowd also includes, of all people, the family of Jesus: his mother and his brothers, who can’t even get inside the house and talk to him face to face.

Who in the crowd are his friends?

This is where things begin to get particularly difficult. Remember that one of the things that Jesus has been doing in his travels, one of the wonders that has drawn the crowds, is the act of driving out demons, that is, exorcism. One of the challenges of preaching is to reconcile modern scientific insights and ancient worldviews about conditions that were described as “demonic” in the world of Mark but are understood as medical conditions today, including epilepsy and mental illness. We would like to dismiss such notions as primitive and even ignorant, and many of us feel more than a little uncomfortable with the idea of exorcism.

We don’t know exactly what motivated Jesus’ family to come and get him (and possibly talk some sense into him, as parents are so inclined to do), but John M. Rottman suggests that their concern over his exorcisms might have been a factor. Rottman then notes the embarrassment of modern Christians who “conspire with his family to have Jesus the exorcist put away. We move to have Jesus locked up between the covers of the New Testament.”

With many other commentators, Rottman observes that, in “a world of spiritual dangers” where “evil or something like it is alive and well,” we should continue to renounce evil in our baptismal vows (The Lectionary Commentary: The Gospels); perhaps we should do so much more often than that. Are we willing, for example, to use the word “evil” to describe the racism and violence that seem at times to have a grip on the spirit of our communities? Indeed, we also have to step into the pulpit and preach this text, as Nibs Stroupe puts it, “in a world which seeks to cast out both angels and demons” (Feasting on the Word Year B, Vol. 3).

Inside and outside

Whether or not it was the exorcisms that alarmed them, or concern for his welfare and safety, or worry about too much “publicity” and uproar over one of their own, the family of Jesus–his mother and brothers–make their way through much of the crowd to reach the outside door of the house where Jesus was sitting. Scholars note that even such a small detail is significant: Judith Hoch Wray says that “house” is the “key word” here, and the understanding of who is on the inside and who is on the outside is central to the meaning of this passage (Feasting on the Word Year B, Vol. 3).

That question, of course, persists in the life of the church, the house that Jesus built, today. This approach offers plentiful material for our reflections not just on what is going on in this disturbing and intense scene, but in the chaotic world in which we try to live faithfully as well.

Ducks in a row, and an out-of-the-box spirit

Chaos, in fact, is another key word for approaching this text. Jesus is causing more than a scene–he’s risking chaos, the authorities believe, by challenging established understandings and long-held beliefs about things like the Sabbath, table hospitality, and religious practices. The authorities from Jerusalem are not “bad guys” here: they are no doubt sincere in their belief that they have worked hard, studied long, and prayed fervently for understandings of God’s will that will maintain a kind of order even in violent and brutal times, even under the heel of the latest empire to rule over the people of God.

Maybe that’s where a lot of the danger in preaching this text arises: we may prefer to find ourselves around Jesus at that table, hanging on his every word, but we in the church so often play the role of the authorities who spend more time and energy asserting the rightness of our beliefs and practices (sincerely, very sincerely) rather than opening ourselves to the dynamic, out-of-the-box movement of God’s hand at work in our lives. Just when we think we have things well-organized, orderly, strategically planned and lovingly established, with all our ducks in a row, God comes along and turns things over for a fresh perspective, showing us hidden possibilities and unexpected grace.

Jesus, road-weary and overwhelmed

I wonder if Jesus was just tired, really, really tired. He must have been exhausted: not just road-weary and anxious to sleep in his own bed (if indeed he had one) but overwhelmed by the sheer enormity of human suffering that surrounded him. It never ended, never let up. He was hungry, and he was pressed in by people all around him. We believe that Jesus was fully human as well as fully God, and I suspect that the fully human Jesus would have appreciated some down-time, some quiet, some relief from the stress and the demands of his ministry.

And just when he thinks he might sit down and have a little supper and a quiet talk with his friends, here come his mom and his brothers, criticizing him in their own (loving) way, thinking that he has gone over the deep end, lost his marbles, or, as the text says, “gone out of his mind.”

Reason to be concerned

If you hear that kind of talk about your son and brother, you have to go fetch him and bring him home for a nice long rest. Actually, “fetch” is too gentle a word: Richard Deibert says that the Greek word used here is “an aggressive Greek verb that can mean ‘seize,’ ‘grab,’ or ‘arrest.'” We’ll hear Mark use it again when the authorities come to arrest Jesus in the garden (Mark: Interpretation Bible Studies, a very helpful resource for this text).

Richard Swanson suggests that we at least consider the possibility that Jesus’ family has a point, that his mother knows things we don’t know about Jesus. He delightfully speculates about the mild-mannered, Presbyterian minister who spoke quietly and gently at all times on his children’s program: “My guess is that Fred Rogers’s mother (who knitted his cardigans) never worried that her son had lost his mind” (Provoking the Gospel of Mark). As Charles Cousar puts it, the family of Jesus decides to do an “intervention” (Texts for Preaching Year B).

Mother, you’re not being helpful

Jesus, of course, did not find the concern of his mother and brothers helpful. Still, his family’s assessment is rather charitable compared to the scribes’ opinion that all of these amazing things, these healings and exorcisms (and we haven’t gotten to loaves multiplying or seas calming yet)–things that anyone with any sense would recognize as good things, are actually rooted in, springing from, evil itself, drawing on the power of Beelzebul, or Satan.

How frustrating must that be for Jesus? Wouldn’t he have a right to expect the religious experts, the ones who ought to know better, to “have his back” on this? Shouldn’t the leaders of the people care about the people’s welfare, their need, their suffering, their healing?

Imagine, for example, a truly compassionate, gifted pastor trying to tend to the needs of her flock and to the ministry with those beyond the walls of the church, all the while being picked at and undercut by, of all people, leaders of her own church who make judgmental and discouraging comments (often, as we know, out in the parking lot rather than face to face). That’s what I picture happening at this crowded little meal, with the crowd noisily pressing on the door outside: Jesus, tired and hungry and stressed, being pushed to his limit by judgmentalism and mean-spiritedness, embodied by the small-minded and insecure people around him. The grace of God might just be too powerful, too amazing, for some of us.

Leaving no room for God

Is that what Jesus is talking about when he says that disturbing thing about the one and only sin that won’t be forgiven? Year ago, I heard someone say that the only people who go to hell are the ones who choose to go there, who choose to spend eternity apart from God, who choose everything that is not-God. To me, it seemed logical: if you spend your life really hating the things of God, why would you choose to spend eternity with God?

An interesting way to put it, and some of the scholars approach this disturbing text in a similar way, I think: Lamar Williamson, Jr. is most helpful when he says that the sin against the Holy Spirit “is unforgivable because it rejects the very agent of God’s healing and forgiveness,” and anyone who worries about it is, in a sense, logically, innocent of that sin. “Only those who set themselves against forgiveness,” he writes, “are excluded from it” (Mark, Interpretation).

Humility and forgiveness

And Charles Cousar contrasts the fixed position of the scribes, with the humbler, more open attitude of those who know they are broken and in need of forgiveness, for the religious experts’ “certitude is born neither of weakness nor of honest seeking. Since they leave no opening for God, they cannot conceive of being mistaken in their judgment” (Texts for Preaching Year B).

Scholars seem to agree that the great sin here is a failure (refusal?) to see goodness for what it is, and evil for what it is, and to recognize, to acknowledge the difference. No wonder Jesus is angry. And yet what may be missed is the remarkable expansiveness of God’s mercy that Jesus describes in that verse 28, about all sins being forgiven.

True family values

Still, that is only one half of what may trouble the hearts in a congregation when they hear this text on Sunday. We may also wonder how Jesus could dismiss so summarily the very people who had loved him all of his life, who raised and nurtured him (in the faith as well as providing his physical needs and safety), who could very well be outside the door because of their concern and love, not just out of embarrassment or doubt in what he was about.

In that culture and time, even more than in our own, with our “family values” narrative so worn-out in the political arena today, family was central to one’s identity and security. Family was what determined who you are.

Don’t dismiss the family

Ironically, we might jump too quickly to dismiss the family, because of Jesus’ words, and misunderstand or disrespect the strength of this fabric that held the people of Israel together. Ronald J. Allen and Clark M. Williamson offer a note of caution: “Jewish families have shown remarkable capacity to sustain identity and witness for more than three millennia. In today’s world of dysfunctional relationships, the preacher may commend such families as models of tenacious love and justice characteristic of God’s realm” (Preaching the Gospels without Blaming the Jews).

And Nibs Stroupe reminds us that in John’s Gospel, Jesus, as he is dying, shows tender concern about his mother’s welfare; he is not, Stroupe says, “antifamily and individualistic” (Feasting on the Word Year B, Vol. 3). However, a careful reading of Mark’s Gospel (without any birth/infancy narrative) shows that the writer of the earliest Gospel does not emphasize the family of Jesus; Gérald Caron writes, “In all likelihood, Mark…did not know of any positive traditions about the family of Jesus!” (Mark in the Lectionary). (This provides one more example of how enlightening it is to read the entire Gospel of Mark at one sitting.)

Will we choose God’s will, or not?

Perhaps one way to approach this difficult moment in the life and ministry of Jesus is to point to its ultimate significance: will we choose God, or not? Even the blessing of family can be an obstacle to faithfulness if we create an idol, a fixed, immutable “god” of one way of living, one source of life and strength and identity, instead of recognizing the ground of all being, the source of all life, the identity we share as children of God.

I once saw a news story about the high percentage of people who now live alone in the United States, and I remembered this text. Where is the “family” that matters so much in their lives? Actually, “family” can be a most flexible concept, as we see in the reality of “family of choice” that gay and lesbian people gather around themselves when their birth families, alas, reject them. By doing so, they re-identify, re-frame, the experience of family, rather than denying its goodness or their need for it. Just about everyone recognizes their need to be part of something larger than themselves that is loving, sheltering, and good.

The challenges of family

But family can also be challenging: it can invite us to newness and maybe even unnerve us at times. (Think about what a first baby does to new parents, for example.) Families can prompt us, and teach us, to do things we never thought we could do, and while offering us a center of gravity, a home base, they can also propel us outward to be of service to the world beyond.

Isn’t that true of the family of church, the “house” that Jesus fashions from the unlikeliest of members, the sinners, rejects, tax collectors, the sick, the formerly-demon-possessed-but-now-freed people who hungrily, gratefully followed him on those travels?

Today, these words of Jesus push against our nice little images of families as self-contained units of consumption busily pursuing an exhausting schedule of activities that, ironically, keep us too busy to connect with one another inside the household or, even less, to other households around us. Ira Brent Driggers astutely observes that “Jesus will not settle for isolated family units coming and going on Sunday morning,” for “God pulls us out of our self-interested households, giving us the means of growing in faith and love through the gift of brothers and sisters we would have otherwise ignored” (New Proclamation Year B 2012).

Re-framing family for the house that Jesus built

Clearly, Jesus redefines family. He doesn’t reject the institution of family, and he doesn’t reject his own family. He just opens up the meaning of family, expands it, re-frames it. In this new and improved way of experiencing family, it doesn’t matter if you’re a religious expert or a perfect person. It doesn’t matter who your mother or father is, or what you’ve done in the past. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, gay or straight, old or young, rich or poor, completely able-bodied or not (most of us are not), one race or ethnic group or another.

As Wendy Farley tells the story, “Looking around him at the crowd of misfits, crazies, and his relentlessly undiscerning disciples he says, ‘This is my family!’…It is just the diverse mess of humanity, with all of its moral, physical, spiritual beauty and imperfection” (Feasting on the Word Year B, Vol. 3). The experts are not rejected or excluded, but they do fail to open their eyes and hearts to what Jesus is saying and doing, and they are gravely mistaken when they choose not to see goodness right before their eyes. They draw a line in the wrong place, and choose to stay on the outside of the circle of grace.

Which side of the line?

Which side of that line are we on? Don E. Saliers brings us back, in a way, to the theme of demons when he calls our “self-absorption” a kind of captivity from which Jesus frees us. “Jesus comes to dedemonize us,” he writes, and the gospel calls us to “weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice. It asks us to live into the densities of human joy and suffering.” And Nibs Stroupe reminds us that demons still hold us captive whenever the powers of racism, materialism, patriarchy and militarism rule our individual and collective lives. (Both writers are in Feasting on the Word Year B, Vol. 3.)

My colleague, Susan Blain, puts all of this succinctly and beautifully in the Assurance of Pardon in the Worship Ways resource for this Second Sunday after Pentecost: “In Christ,” she writes, “we are forgiven all our failed efforts at community, and invited afresh to rejoin the family of God, seeking blessing for all” (“That We May Say ‘Thank You!'” Worship Ways). Amen!


The Rev. Kathryn M. Matthews retired in 2016 after serving as dean of Amistad Chapel at the national offices of the United Church of Christ in Cleveland, Ohio.

You’re invited to share your reflections on this text in the comments below the post on our Facebook page.

A Bible study version of this reflection is at Weekly Seeds.

For further reflection:

Brom (in “Eragaon”), 21st century
“Men who fear demons see demons everywhere.”

Jay McInerney, 21st century
“The capacity for friendship is God’s way of apologizing for our families.”

Erma Bombeck, 20th century
“When your mother asks, ‘Do you want a piece of advice?’ it’s a mere formality. It doesn’t matter if you answer yes or no. You’re going to get it anyway.”

Oscar Wilde, 19th century
“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relatives.”

Trenton Lee Stewart, 21st century
“You must remember, family is often born of blood, but it doesn’t depend on blood. Nor is it exclusive of friendship. Family members can be your best friends, you know. And best friends, whether or not they are related to you, can be your family.”

Elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica, 20th century
“Where there is prayer, the fallen spirits have no power.”

Lectionary texts

1 Samuel 8:4-11 (12-15) 16-20, 11:14-15

Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah, and said to him, “You are old and your sons do not follow in your ways; appoint for us, then, a king to govern us, like other nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel when they said, “Give us a king to govern us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord, and the Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Just as they have done to me, from the day I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so also they are doing to you. Now then, listen to their voice; only — you shall solemnly warn them, and show them the ways of the king who shall reign over them.”

So Samuel reported all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. He said, “These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots; [and he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plough his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his courtiers. He will take one-tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and his courtiers.] He will take your male and female slaves, and the best of your cattle and donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take one-tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves; but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”

But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel; they said, “No! but we are determined to have a king over us, so that we also may be like other nations, and that our king may govern us and go out before us and fight our battles.”

Samuel said to the people, “Come, let us go to Gilgal and there renew the kingship.” So all the people went to Gilgal, and there they made Saul king before the Lord in Gilgal. There they sacrificed offerings of well-being before the Lord, and there Saul and all the Israelites rejoiced greatly.


Psalm 138

I give you thanks, O God,
   with my whole heart;
before the gods
   I sing your praise;

I bow down
   toward your holy temple
and give thanks
   to your name
for your steadfast love
   and your faithfulness;

for you have exalted your name
   and your word above everything.

On the day I called,
   you answered me,
you increased my strength
   of soul.

All the kings of the earth
   shall praise you, O God,
for they have heard the words
   of your mouth.

They shall sing
   of the ways of God,
for great is the glory
   of God.

For though God is high,
   God regards the lowly;
but the haughty,
   God perceives from far away.

Though I walk
   in the midst of trouble,
you preserve me
   against the wrath of my enemies;
you stretch out your hand,
   and your right hand delivers me.

God will fulfill God’s purpose
   for me;
your steadfast love, O God,
   endures forever.
Do not forsake the work
   of your hands.


Genesis 3:8-15

They heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” The man said, “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate.” Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this that you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent tricked me, and I ate.” The Lord God said to the serpent,

“Because you have done this,
cursed are you among all animals
and among all wild creatures;
upon your belly you shall go,
and dust you shall eat
all the days of your life.
I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will strike your head,
and you will strike his heel.”


Psalm 130

Out of the depths
   I cry to you, O Lord.
O God, hear my voice!

Let your ears be attentive
   to the voice of my supplications!

If you, O God,
   should mark iniquities,
who could stand?

But there is forgiveness
   with you,
so that you may be revered.

I wait for God,
   my soul waits,
and in God’s word
   I hope;

my soul waits for God more than those
   who watch for the morning,
more than those
   who watch for the morning.

O Israel,
   hope in God!
For with God
   there is steadfast love,

With God is great power
   to redeem.
It is God
   who will redeem Israel
from all its iniquities.

2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1

But just as we have the same spirit of faith that is in accordance with scripture — “I believed, and so I spoke” — we also believe, and so we speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus, and will bring us with you into his presence. Yes, everything is for your sake, so that grace, as it extends to more and more people, may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

So we do not lose heart. Even though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

Mark 3:20-35

And the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat. When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, “He has gone out of his mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul, and by the ruler of the demons he casts out demons.” And he called them to him, and spoke to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but his end has come. But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his property without first tying up the strong man; then indeed the house can be plundered.

“Truly I tell you, people will be forgiven for their sins and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit can never have forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”–for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

Then his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside, they sent to him and called him. A crowd was sitting around him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers and sisters are outside, asking for you.” And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” And looking at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.”

Notes on the Lectionary and Liturgical Colors
by the Rev. Susan Blain, Curator for Worship and Liturgical Arts (
Faith Formation Ministry, Local Church Ministries, United Church of Christ

(Essay based on an article by Laurence Hull Stookey: “Putting Liturgical Colors in their Place” in Calendar: Christ’s Time for the Church ©1996 Abingdon Press.)  

The use of colors to differentiate liturgical seasons is a custom in use among some Western churches for hundreds of years. Although the custom of using colors is an ancient one, there has not always been agreement on what the colors should be. The Council of Trent in 1570, a Roman Catholic response to the Reformation, codified the colors for the Roman Catholic Church. When we talk about “traditional” colors today, we usually are referring to that codification. There were four basic colors in that codification: purple (penitence), red (Spirit or Martyrs memorials), green (long season after Pentecost) and white (festivals). Other colors, or no color at all, were acceptable variants in some regions.

The Reformation of course was a watershed for Christian ritual practice. Anglican and Lutheran churches often used some form of liturgical colors; however, the Reformed tradition of churches, where the UCC falls, for the most part did away with the custom of using colors, opting for much more simplicity. During the ecumenical liturgical movement of the mid-20th Century, Protestant churches began to look back at some of the ritual and colorful practices of the past with an eye toward reclaiming them to help give expression to feeling, tone, and imagery underlying the lectionary stories.  
Before the Reformation’s iconoclasm, and Trent’s code, practices varied from place to place, often depending on what was available. Indeed, in some places the custom was to organize vestments into practical categories of “best,” “second best,” and “everyday”–not depending on the color at all. For Christmas and Easter the “best” vestments were used, no matter the color! Other, less prominent feasts or Sundays got “second best” or “everyday.”

So, here is a challenge to worship planners: Take it upon yourselves to develop and expand the “received” tradition!