The Honor of the Apron
At The Family of Faith Preschool, our staff members wear a blue apron with a large white cross printed on the front. These aprons have convenient pockets so that our ministry team members can have tissues, etc. ready at hand for various needs the children regularly present. In other words, the aprons have a very functional purpose.
However, the aprons also serve a symbolic purpose. As our professional church workers dawn their aprons, they also identify themselves as a single group, as a team, with a common purpose – namely, to share the love of God in Christ as they nurture children and their family members.
Numerous professions use a uniform to show common purpose: the military, the police, medical personnel, and sports teams. In the church there is a long tradition of using clothing to represent Christian values. For example, the pastor in a Lutheran church may wear vestments during a worship service. I wear vestments when I serve as the celebrant for Holy Communion.
My vestments include a white robe, or Alb, that represents the forgiveness of sins provided freely by the Lord. I also wear a cross to remind worshipers that life in the church is all about Jesus. In addition, The Family of Faith Lutheran Church vested me with authority to be a public steward of the Word of God, and the Sacraments (e.g. Holy Baptism and Holy Communion). This authority is represented by a colorful scarf-like cloth that hangs off my neck and over my shoulders. This part of my vestments is called a “stole.” The pastoral authority these vestments represent was conferred on me in two special worship services called “the service of installation” and “the service of ordination.” It has been a blessing to be allowed to serve in the Office of the Holy Ministry over these last 27 years.
I would like to think that the aprons my coworkers wear are a form of a vestment. The professionals who daily care for children at The Family of Faith Preschool serve in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ just as I do. Their apron, like my Alb, cross, and stole, serve to identify them as individuals who have been entrusted to be public stewards of our children. While we have not as yet developed a special ritual in which we vest our workers with their aprons, it may be something we should do in order to make it clear to all our families that this person has been recognized as especially suited to serve God, God’s children and their families.
– Pastor Doug