One thing I’ve learned from Jesus is that there is a time for defending/debating and there’s a time to keep your mouth shut. A mark of true humility would be knowing the difference between the two.
Sadly, I’m not there yet (I get it right some and get it wrong some). But after a few humbling moments today and some good time in prayer, I’m sensing the Spirit saying to let the defense rest.
And also, how about we move on to some things that matter even more than clothes? Because there are so, so many.
But first, an apology. And I want to start by apologizing to every Southerner and/or Baptist I hurt by my reference yesterday to you both. I was wrong, and I ask your forgiveness.
And second, I apologize to everyone I offended by my tone. It truly wasn’t my intent. And I’m especially sorry to those who felt attacked simply because they like to dress up for church. Like I said, some of my very best favorite people look stunning (and modest!) every Sunday (and every other day too, come to think of it). I have NOTHING against people who dress up, I promise.
Here’s what I really think. If each of us truly came to church dressed in whatever we felt God was laying on our hearts instead of what’s culturally ingrained in us or what we think people expect from us (or what we’re trying to rebel against), I think we would naturally see a wide variety of clothing, don’t you?
I mean, think about it. God created us differently, uniquely! Look at our sizes and shapes and hair color and skin tones and noses (please don’t look too closely at my nose)! Not a one of us looks the same! So, why would we wear cookie cutter clothes??
We are all parts of one body–the body of Christ–but we are very, very different parts. If everyone in my church dressed just like me (or just like you), then someone (rich, poor, whatever) is going to show up one Sunday–who didn’t get the memo–and is going to feel like she doesn’t belong. Right?
So, what I’m saying (and what I didn’t completely and clearly communicate yesterday) is that ALL types of clothing (or rather, the people in them) worshiping together is a TRUE picture of the body of Christ. Just like all colors and races is a true picture of the body of Christ.
Thank you, Jesus, for answering my prayers for wisdom about this post and leading me right straight to Colossians 3. Thank you, Paul, for writing this particular letter to a particular church but allowing us all to benefit from your words. And thank you, Eugene Peterson, for phrasing it with such wow factor in the Message Bible.
Read these words, friends. Soak them up. Make them yours, because they are.
Now you’re dressed in a new wardrobe. Every item of your new way of life is custom-made by the Creator, with his label on it. All the old fashions are now obsolete. Words like Jewish and non-Jewish, religious and irreligious, insider and outsider, uncivilized and uncouth, slave and free, mean nothing. From now on everyone is defined by Christ, everyone is included in Christ.
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, put on love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.
Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing. And cultivate thankfulness. Let the Word of Christ–the Message–have the run of the house. Give it plenty of room in your lives. Instruct and direct one another using good common sense. And sing, sing your hearts out to God! Let every detail in your lives–words, actions, whatever–be done in the name of the Master, Jesus, thanking God the Father every step of the way. Colossians 3:10-17 (msg)
Isn’t that just PERFECT?
Now, all of you run off and enjoy your weekend! And report back here on Monday with a detailed description of what you wore to church (wink wink).