“As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” — Colossians 3:12,14
How many times has it been repeated: “you can’t judge a book by its cover”? Likely such repetition is simply a reflection of the statement’s truth. And yet . . . what we wear does speak to who we are, what we believe, and what we value.
This year as we make our Lenten journey to the cross and the empty tomb, our focus will be what disciples of Jesus wear. We will sing, preach, study, and pray about the things that Jesus wears so that the world would know who he is. And then we will challenge ourselves to dress like Jesus so that the world would know what we believe and what we value—and whom we follow.
Our Lenten journey begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10, as we gather at 6:30 p.m. in the Church School Hall for a service that includes the imposition of ashes: the sign of penitence we wear that reminds us that we return to the One from whom we come. In distinction from previous years there will not be a pancake dinner before the service. For all who like to commemorate the Fat Tuesday tradition, the Soul Food Luncheon will serve well, even if two days early (Sunday, Feb. 7).
Then on each Sunday in Lent we will focus on different aspects of Jesus’ accoutrements. We will walk with him in his simple sandals. We will watch and listen carefully as he puts on his healing hands and touches God’s children with light and hope. We will hear about how God’s children wear rings, oils, robes that signify what they treasure— and even how we can use our hair to glorify Jesus!
Holy Week begins on Palm Sunday (March 20) when the people’s greatest desire is for a savior who wears the jeweled crown of an earthly king. They shout their Hosannas not knowing that at the end of the week their savior would be crowned with thorns.
On Thursday evening (March 24,7 p.m.) we will re-enact the moment when Jesus transforms his simple servant’s robe into a towel that bathes the feet of the disciples in preparation for their ministries.
On Friday (March 25, 7 p.m.) we will hear again the story of the day when Jesus receives his crown of thorns, is forced to wear and bear a cross to Golgotha, and watches as his robe is gambled away.
On Sunday (March 27) we will marvel at the empty tomb, save for the linens that Jesus leaves behind because he sheds the shroud of death. We will sing Alleluia praises at 7 a.m. in Brandywine Park, and then worship at 11 a.m. with special music, a chancel filled with freshly placed flowers, and the glorious news of the Resurrection.
In order to help focus in the Lenten spirit of discernment there will be a space set up in the Church School Lounge for meditation; all are welcome to spend time there contemplating our clothing. We will also suspend flower displays for worship during Lent so that our focus in the chancel would be on the cross, and what it will be wearing each week . . .
As we prepare our hearts and spirits for the annual pilgrimage through forty days of wilderness, may what we wear on the outside reflect the light, hope, faith, and grace we carry on the inside.