Clothed in Christ

baptism

“What are you wearing right now?”

That was the first line of a story I heard on the radio last week in an interview with a fashion editor of a major newspaper in our country. With many people now working from home as they shelter in place during this pandemic, a lot of folks are staying in their pajamas all day long. Yet maybe that’s not always the best thing, was the gist of the story.

The first week staying at home it was kind of novel to bask in the new relaxed dress code. It came with a sense of freedom not having to think about what to put on in the morning, or worry about whether or not the laundry was done.

But when you stay in your pj’s and sweats all day you can lose a sense of time, along with a regular routine. Which might in turn also lead to a loss of purpose about who you are, and what you are about. It can even affect your mood and how you’re feeling about life. In other words, the clothes we put on can make a difference on how we act throughout the day.

“That’s why I’m wearing a sparkly shirt today,” the woman being interviewed concluded. “I just needed a boost to feel sparkly myself.”

After listening to that story, I couldn’t help but think of the “clothes” that the writer of Colossians encourages us to put on as those who have been given new life in Christ.

“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.  (Colossians 3:12-14)

In these trying times it is easy to be overwhelmed by fear and anxiety. The growing cases of Covid-19 are taking their toll on us physically and emotionally. And sometimes the increased stress not only affects us individually, but the people with whom we interact, too. We can become impatient with those we live with. Or be tempted to hoard more than we need.

The words from Colossians, however, give us the spiritual strength we need for this time. Reminding us again of who we are and how we are called to be in the world. At our core, we are children of God who wear the cross of Christ on our foreheads from our baptism. We are clothed with Christ, just as the newly baptized often receive a baptismal garment after being washed in the waters of the font. And we live out our baptism each day by treating one another with compassion and kindness, clothing ourselves above all with love.

When we clothe ourselves with the new self we receive by God’s grace, our lives are marked by peace and gratitude:

“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.” (Colossians 3:15-16)

Gretchen Bingea

Gretchen Bingea

ELCA Pastor
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Boise, ID

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