I’ve been staying in Dunedin for the last ten days or so. The night before I left I packed in a mad rush. I did that thing where you open your wardrobe, pull out all your draws and throw into your suitcase anything you like the look of without any real thought as to what is useful, practical or necessary.
One of the ladies at the counter offered me a ‘Feminine Hygiene Overnight Pack’ while the other checked the system to see where my suitcase was.
In my Goodie Bag from the airline I had a plain white t-shirt, size XL. I have never loved a t-shirt so much in my life.
This little story was true for me as I was sleeping in my extra large t-shirt, wondering if my suitcase would arrive the next day and I’d have clean clothes to wear.
This was true for me when I arrived at the Knox Centre for Ministry and Leadership and was worrying about being an Intern, and maybe even being a Minister one day.
I was worrying about a day other than today. Today has its own trials and triumphs.
Atticus Finch, a character from the novel ‘To Kill A Mocking Bird’, was right when he said to his daughter, “it’s not time to worry yet, Scout”.
I don’t know if you are worried, but if you are, you don’t need to be anymore; your heavenly Father knows all your needs, and he will give you everything you need.
It’s almost as if Jesus was saying to me, “believe me when I say that I care about you. I care about you because I love you. And I love you because I love you. You don’t have to earn it. You don’t have to prove that you are worthy or respectable. You just have to respond.”
In a sense, I worrying about what I would ‘wear’ – figuratively. It was about the kind of person I am now, and the kind of person I want to become as I am continue along this process of formation. It was about the kinds of things I was wearing from my current wardrobe full of characteristics and personality traits – the good, the bad and the ugly – and the kinds of things I need to wear as I continue to seek to be Christ-like. The words Colossians 3 encourage me, saying:Perhaps love is like a plain white t-shirt; a basic all purpose garment.
So, let us throw open our wardrobe doors, let us clear out our closets, and;
When our caring tears apart at the seams, may we be clothed with Christ’s compassion
When our kindness is stained, may we be clothed with Christ’s kindness.
When our humility wears out, may we be clothed with Christ’s humility.
When our gentleness gets grubby, may we be clothed with Christ’s gentleness.
When our patience wears thin, may we be clothed with Christ’s patience.
When our strength can’t be found, may we be clothed with Christ’s strength.
When our love gets left behind at the last place we were at, may we be clothed with Christ’s love.
At St Paul’s we sing this song with our kids. The lyrics go like this:
Look at the birds of the air,
and the flowers of the field.
The God who cares for them,
he cares for us.
It’s not time to worry yet, Scout.
You are clothed in Christ.
You are clothed in Christ.