So is it a C of E thing? Or a subtle commentary on the funeral proceedings? Or what?
But why on earth were the various assembled priest sand bishops wearing BLACK for today’s service?
That may seem a small thing. Or if you’re not often in church an odd question to ask. And I suspect one or two peeps who saw me ask that on twitter thought I was having a go at the deceased. But honest, no: in reality, the oddity is the fact that they were wearing it at all
Because, sure: once upon a time, funerals were generally viewed as solemn and sad occasions. Which they still are. But that’s hardly the case if you happen to be a practising christian. That’s why the catholic church long since tore up (or off) its black vestments in favour of white or purple or very occasionally gold.
White is for innocence and rebirth (linking back to baptism): purple for penitence. Views on whether gold is ever appropriate at such occasions are mixed.
Whatever. In US churches, which are often a tad more fundamentalist than English catholic ones, there are still a fair few places where black is de rigueur. In the UK, it is increasingly mixed and, I’d venture, white for funerals is now in the ascendant.
Suspect it has a lot to do with living up (or down) to the expectations of the assembled throng who turned out en masse today – but otherwise are rarely to be seen at mass in any shape or form.
Much as I suspect the choice of hymns owed as much, or more, to The Lady’s formative years and the fact that hymns we now regard as “trad” and “patriotic” were rather more common in that era, than any particular impulse towards imperialism.