This fall our church bought a full set of chasubles, in every liturgical color. Previously, we had one fancy chausable, which we wore on Christmas and Easter. But since about the middle of November, we have been wearing chasubles every Sunday. Whoever presides ducks out during the offering, and comes "dressed for dinner", as one of my worship professors liked to say.
So, at first I got a few comments like this, "That color really looks good on you." I asked the Senior Pastor if anyone ever said that to him, and he said, "No. Nothing like that." One thing I like about albs is that no one ever comments on my outfit. And I prefer that. I prefer that, during worship, people aren't thinking: "What a great suit! I wonder where she got that?"
I didn't know what a chasuble was until seminary. I never saw a pastor wear one, so it didn't really seem Lutheran to me. Since then, I have discovered that there are plenty of Lutherans east and west of me who are familiar with chasubles. But we in the Midwest: well, some of us don't even wear albs. So many Lutheran churches here don't have chasubles and that is okay with me. It's just one more thing to think about, another layer of church garb. And in the winter, it is a cause of static electricity in my hair.
But here's the worst thing: the chasubles are A Little Too Big For Me. They were obviously not created for a person of my (ahem) stature. If they had sleeves, I'd have to roll up the sleeves. They are about an inch and a half from being too long. In the case of chasubles, of course you would like to think that one size fits all, but that's not true exactly.
There's a picture of me on my ordination day, standing with my pastor and the bishop and the other pastors who were participating at the service. (If I find it, I will post it.) Of course, almost everyone else was male, but everyone else (including the woman who preached) was about a foot taller than me. This was so striking that one of my friends commented on it. She seemed to think that it was a sign of another level of progress that even someone like me could become a pastor.
So not only are chasubles a little too fancy for my piety, they are also a little too Big for me. But today as I was presiding it occurred to me: so is the Call to ministry a little too Big for me. In fact, it's too Big period. As writer and pastor Gerhard Frost once observed, "The things that are worthy of us, as persons, are often beyond us." I have been called to the ministry of Word and Sacrament, a vocation that I can never completely master, but am always striving toward.
But that is not true only of my vocation. When God calls each of us to be God's person in the world, that call is always a little too Big.
For me, I need to call on God, and on my friends. Because the Call, like the Chasuble, is just a little Too Big.