What shall I wear?
It’s a question that never crossed my mind when I turned up to a fancy dress party in plain clothes. Embarassing. It seems to be a question that never crossed the mind of the guest who was caught out at the wedding (Matthew 22:1-14).
He could have argued back. Jesus had, after all, told people not to worry about what to wear (Matthew 6:31), but there he was just tipping his head towards Eden where the boy and girl were unashamed by being in the all-together (Genesis 2:25). At the other bookend (Revelation 21:2) we are shown what we’ll look like when all-together we are got ready by God. “And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride for her husband.”
There is a dressing down for those who worry about what they wear, and those who aren’t ready in time. Jesus reminds us that God clothes us. The guest who hadn’t dressed properly wasn’t clothed in righteousness.
There are various dressing prayers. David Adam has a dresing prayer based on St Patrick’s Breastplate. And Jan Richardson has this blessing in her Painted Prayerbook:
In your mercy
in your protection
in your care
in your grace
With your justice
for your labor
by your love
and fit me
for your work.
Photo by Paul Vlaar (http://www.neep.net/photo/london/show.php?12881) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
> I was wondering what to wear over my fig leaf this morning, when I came across this morning’s reading with Paul telling me to clothe myself with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” – I’ve got a lifetime trying to squeeze myself into them. It’s a bit like Trinny and Susanna’s make-overs.
Then I came across a photo of the Vicar of Much Wenlock striding barefoot through his parish because he wants to follow the fashion set by St Francis. He says it puts him in touch with reality – He said: “I’m not suggesting people go around barefoot. The message is about needing to tread more lightly on the earth.” I remember a news report of a visit of a leader of an aborigine community who described how he had to put shoes on for the first time in his life when he came to Europe. He said how uncomfortable he felt and how he lost his sense of freedom.
I’ll try the compassion, kindness and gentleness outfit, but not bother with the matching accessories. I’ll just wear shoes!