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Saturday, April 20, 2013
Today’s Reading | Colossians 3:1–17
So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (NRSV)
I must confess: I become really anxious around clothes shopping. I am impatient when there are too many choices and will often, in a sudden exit toward the door, put back the clothes I was planning to purchase (and then order some basics online). I don’t think I have much of a fashion sense, recently learning about the color wheel and how to match (how have I survived as long as I have?! a good sense of humor). Mostly, I just write down wardrobes for each day of the week so I can avoid looking at my closet in the morning and simply rotate what I wear. If it were up to me, I’d have two jackets: one to wear to work every day and one for really dressy events (and this may happen yet). As much as I think it’s a beautiful art, fashion just isn’t my art.
Maybe you’re not quite like me when it comes to the art of fashion, but that still doesn’t make Paul’s fashion advice any easier. “Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. . . . Above all, clothe yourselves with love.” We grow impatient with the process of trying these character traits on because there isn’t a formula: you’ve got to see what fits and feels right. Kindness and compassion will look different for each person and in each situation. You need to have your own sense of style, your own colorful addition to the ways in which we can be humble and patient. We can’t simply sound like a caricature of Mr. Rogers in his neighborhood, because we must be authentic. But what brings the outfit together is love, which “binds everything together in perfect harmony.” As we clothe ourselves, we don’t lose our unique identity, but instead gain a community.
Fashion me in your image, so that I might reflect your love to the world and that people might see your image in all that I say and do. In Christ’s name. Amen.
Written by Edwin Estevez, Pastoral Resident
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