What Should I Wear?
12Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Colossians 3: 12-14
Think for a moment about how much time we spend thinking about what we will wear. For an upcoming trip, we pack and repack clothes suitable for the weather we expect to encounter and the activities we hope to engage in. For a special occasion, we shop for just the right outfit. For a particular holiday season, we don fitting festive apparel. For a sporting event, we gear up in team colors and logos. For an interview or first date, we dress to impress. Even on ordinary days, we spend much time deciding what to wear when we leave our houses.
And there are countless books, magazines, blogs, tv shows, and podcasts dedicated to what to wear.
But why? Why does it matter what we wear? Because our clothing makes a statement. Our clothing can communicate something about personality, preferences, style, status, culture, individuality, or conformity. We know that what we wear sends a message to those around us, and we want to be intentional about this message.
Perhaps this has always been the case. Maybe this is why in writing to the church in Colossae, the apostle Paul uses the metaphor of clothing to invite the recipients of his pastoral letter to imagine clothing themselves in a manner fitting of those who have received Christ. Paul invites readers to consider how they might embody Christ’s message by imagining how they might clothe themselves in the characteristics and virtues of Christian love.
It is a timeless and powerful metaphor Paul uses. Even today, we can ask ourselves, what would it look like if each day we chose to clothe ourselves in the love of Christ? How different might our lives and world be if we all chose each day to put more time, energy, thought, and intention into ensuring we were clothed with “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” before we left the house? Imagine if we spend just as much time, if not more, deciding how we might show up in the world as we do what we will wear. As Paul invites us to do, imagine the impact we might have if we were to “bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.”
Each day we have an opportunity to choose how we will clothe ourselves. May we clothe ourselves in the love of Christ, which can bind us together in unity.
Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister