There are three occasions on which I may be found wearing a black clerical shirt. The first is a funeral, if I gauge that the family would prefer a traditional looking priest, not one with a bit of colour around their colour. Some families specifically ask me not to wear black, some prefer it. Either is fine with me. The second is if I run out of coloured shirts and they are all sitting waiting to be ironed (although on a cold day I might risk the rumpled look).
The third is Good Friday. Black from head to toe. Not because my churchmanship is any different, but on Good Friday, Christ died because humanity had separated itself from God. By choice. By choice, humanity turned away, by choice Jesus didn’t turn away. If I’d been alive on Good Friday, I might like to think I’d have been with Mary, Mary, Martha et al, but let’s face facts. I’d probably have been urging my fella to get down the Temple and join the shouts of “Crucify” – cos we don’t want any trouble round here, bad enough with the priests and the centurions and the tax collectors.
Wearing black doesn’t change my churchmanship one iota. I don’t “always wear black” because I don’t want to “always wear black”. I am not an adherent to the principle that there is only one colour for a clerical shirt, and that matches the Model T Ford. That works for other people, which is great for them, it doesn’t feel right for me.
But today is Good Friday. Today humans took the Man, and hammered iron nails through the skin and flesh and sinews of his wrists into a beam of wood. We did the same with his feet. Then we swung the cross upright so he dangled by those wrist wounds, and jarred the cross into a hole to wedge it upright. We reduced a healthy human to a corpse. And my world goes into mourning. Today I am a Woman in Black.