Why Wear A Stole?

After worship this morning, my research and development team (that’s my family!) was brainstorming ideas for a new line of stoles and vestments. The ideas ranged from the silly to the sublime. Pastor’s stoles with miniature sparkling LED lights, a stole with a flashing “applause now” sign, stoles remembering saints such as Mother Theresa, and stoles respecting the earth's resources because they were made out of recycled fibers were among the suggestions.

All this fun brainstorming may find you asking yourself why pastors even wear stoles. We’ve learned several stories. Stoles first might have originated as a practicality. It’s believed they were something upon which to wipe one’s hands after receiving the offerings of the people at a time in the early church when offerings of produce, other food stuffs and various animal products as well as financial offerings were given.

Secondly, in the 10th century, priests were commanded to wear stoles as a badge of their calling, especially when traveling. They may even have had little bells on the ends so people would know when they were approaching.

Lastly, we think symbolically of a stole as a yoke. This reminds us of Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. My yoke is easy and My burden in light”.

What do you think? Does any of this history of pastor's stoles or brainstorming of new ideas grab you? If you’d like to share any ideas send us an email or better yet share the idea when you enter to win the free "Mystery Stole" at Carrot Top Studio. Go to
www.CarrotTopStudio.com and follow the directions on the Specials link.