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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Scripture Reading: Ezekiel 42:14
When the priests enter the holy place, they shall not go out of it into the outer court without laying there the vestments in which they minister, for these are holy; they shall put on other garments before they go near to the area open to the people. (NRSV)

Sometimes I run into my doctor at the grocery store or on the street. Without his white coat on, he is hardly recognizable to me. So I understand when congregants, used to seeing me only on Sunday mornings, experience a moment of surprise at encountering me in ordinary “street clothes.” All of us get used to associating people with particular garb and particular garb with particular contexts.

For much of religious history, putting on and taking off vestments has been one way by which thresholds have been marked. As a minister, I become acutely aware of this whenever I, still wearing my clergy collar, cross over the threshold of the church onto Michigan Avenue. When I start to feel more self-conscious than I would like, I am reminded of what Paul told the Galatians. To the newly baptized, he wrote, “All who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. Unlike the priests of the temple of which Ezekiel speaks, all who are baptized in Christ, whether professional clergy or laity, are called to wear Christ, as though wearing new clothes, no matter the thresholds we cross in life.

Lord, with each threshold I cross, let me be as aware of my baptism as of what I am wearing. Whether or not they are yet comfortable, let them be the clothes that I put on. Amen.

Written by Joyce Shin, Associate Pastor for Congregational Life

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