I know I’ve blogged a lot about my church lately but today I have to do it again because the message was about second hand clothing. Also, my blog was referenced by the preacher and that doesn’t happen every Sunday!
Gareth Brandt is my friend and very gifted speaker. He is a creative soul too, so we always look forward to his messages because we know they’ll be thought-provoking and unusual. Today he talked about starting a new fashion trend based on Colossians 3: 12-16, where we are encouraged to ‘clothe’ ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, thankfulness, peace, the indwelling message of God, and worship in song. For each item of metaphorical clothing, Gareth chose an actual, representative piece of clothing and invited a volunteer from the congregation to come wear it. It’s a sermon we’ll likely never forget because we’ll remember folks wearing things like a Canuck’s t-shirt (for “patience” – or “long-suffering”, obviously), a screamin’ red suit jacket (for love) that Gareth bought when he was in college for his first Christmas banquet, or the lovely, soft velvet jacket (for gentleness) that I got to wear.
Two things struck me in the message today. Just like the literal clothes used to represent each word, the metaphorical clothes are also second hand – treasures that have been worn by others throughout history who have sought to live their lives “clothed” in this way. That’s what makes them so special – like those awesome things you find in a thrift-shop that have great value only better because these metaphorical ‘clothes’ are free, we need only choose to wear them.
The second thing that struck me is that Gareth referred to this wardrobe as being communal. Each item is meant for all of us – not necessarily one-of-a-kind, meant only for specific individuals. We are all invited to take part in this fashion trend. Yet as I think about that, it occurs to me that the way we each ‘wear’ our clothing is how we bring our unique, individuality to it. I might pair that green velvet jacket with a pair of soft faded jeans, whereas my mother would most certainly pair it with a black velvet skirt. In the same way, I may practice gentleness or peace differently than my mom or Gareth would, which I think makes each item of ‘clothing’ richer and more wonderful.
It also occurs to me that you don’t necessarily have to be a person of Christian faith to wear this wardrobe. A person of any faith – or no particular faith at all – could clothe themselves in compassion, kindness, peace and love and the world would be a better place for it.
Of all the metaphorical clothes listed above, which do you find easiest to wear? Which most challenging?