Clothes Encounters


Today’s readings (click below to open in new tab/window):
Psalms 12; 146, 1 Samuel 15:24-35, Acts 9:32-43, Luke 23:56b-24:11 (12)

Clothing plays a role in all three of today’s scripture passages.

In Samuel, King Saul tries to detain the prophet Samuel by grabbing at his robe and accidentally tears a strip off. Samuel, angry that Saul has not been following God’s instructions to annihilate the Amalekites and their property (and like any good prophet not one to pass up a symbolic moment), declares: “The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this very day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.”

In Acts, Peter visits the home of Tabitha, a good and charitable woman who had recently died. Some widows were gathered and reminiscing over garments she had made while among them. Peter clears the room, prays, and says “Tabitha, get up” – which she does.

And in Luke, a Peter who has not yet experienced the power of the resurrection is with the eleven remaining apostles when Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Joanna, and other women tell them about meeting two angels at the open and empty tomb of Jesus. The disciples dismiss this tale, but Peter investigates for himself. At the tomb he finds the discarded burial shroud.

After someone loses a loved one, it may be quite a while before they can bring themselves to dispose of the deceased person’s clothes. Clothing carries the color, the scent, the shape of our existence. What does a trip through our wardrobe say about us? Does it tell a story of hard work? Of impeccable style? Perhaps a lifelong struggle with body image? Wealth or poverty? Our tendencies toward conformity or rebellion? A barometer of our sense of adventure? When we are gone, what memories will our closet contain?

In the end, we hope to tailor stories of loving God with all our hearts, and our neighbors as ourselves.

Trouser knees worn thin and shiny from time in prayer. Jacket elbows patched because we gave the second coat away. Cuffs and collars pressed for our Sunday best. What we wear will be remembered for how we loved while wearing it.

Additional Reading:
For more thoughts on today’s passage from Luke and the empty tomb, see Idol Tales.

Comfort: How you will be remembered is largely up to you.

Challenge: Take a look at your closet. Does it tell the story you hope people will remember?

Prayer: I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High. (Psalm 7:17)

Discussion: What’s your favorite article of clothing and why?

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