We started the worship time with people being interviewd on our red carpet. They had been invited to wear or bring something that made them feel beautiful, or good. We did this again during the children’s sermon time.
Dior, Calvin Klein, Versace, Saint Lauren. Who are you wearing? Those are probably not the names we would use. It’s not like we run out, after the Oscars or after fashion shows to buy the latest couture. We are not questioned, “Who are you wearing?” This year, though with #askhermore campaign, Hollywood itself of course realized there’s more to a person than what he or she is wearing.
It might seem that the king in our parable, the story today, was not quite that enlightened, after all that has happened in this story (the people ignoring and some attacking the messengers inviting them to come to his party), after finally filling his banquet room, the King is worried about what one guest is wearing or actually not wearing.
David Lose, Lutheran seminary professor who writes a weekly article on Sunday’s gospel lesson and he began his thoughts this week by saying,“Let’s just admit it: this is an ugly parable.” There seems to be nothing beautiful in this story. It is filled with rejection, death and destruction. It is hard to see what good news Jesus is trying to give us about the kingdom. There’s not a lot of love in the lines we read this morning. But like the pictures of that dress going around on the internet and TV, perhaps if we just look at it a little different light, we’ll see something different. Although, I will be honest, it will not clean up completely. It will not fit neatly.
The king in this story intends to throw a wedding party, and it’s not just some thing he kinda would like to do. He is committed, desperate, determined. Nothing is going to stop him from filling his hall, his chairs, his table with people. But, for various and sundry reasons, well the people do not want to. They are too busy, they don’t like him, they don’t want to be bothered, or bought with his buffet of food, drink, money, prestige, and power. They don’t want what he’s offering, even the guy at the end of the story, who makes it through the door, but not much more, his heart is not in it. The king is persistent and we might say relentless, and he does finally fill his room with people who will put on the wedding robe, who will party, who will participate, who will respect, and who will honor him.
That can be what this is all about, by putting on the king’s robes, the people invited to the party, they are attaching themselves to him, as we say now-a-days they are “all in”. Who are they wearing? they are wearing King. Just maybe Jesus wants us to stick with these folks, the ones who are invited, welcomed, maybe even brought a bit kicking and screaming into the feast, but then they are the ones who put on the robe–who gladly wear the party pants.
Of course we know that if you can actually put a dress and lipstick on a pig, well it’s still a pig. If you can get one to do it, it’s just a prettier pig. But as you have been sharing, there is a bit of truth, a bit of wisdom to the phrase the clothes make the man, and in our case woman, boy or girl. examples:
Dressing up, when we can, can help us feel good, beautiful, important. And at the same time, who doesn’t like to come home kick off their shoes, maybe slip into something comfortable like sweatshirt, or at the end of the day those comfy pajamas to help us relax. What we wear, what we put on the outside can change us, our attitude our demeanor, even if it is ever so slightly, lift our spirits, shape our mood, help us show the world a bit of what’s going on on the inside.
It is no accident that in Romans 13, Paul tells us to :put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Paul is urging us to get dressed in Jesus. The love that Jesus invites into is one that we can put on, to show to the world. Because, following Jesus is not just about what’s going on on the inside, but also wearing it for all the world to see.
We know what it is to bundle ourselves up. With the break in the cold, I know that many of us are looking forward to not having to bundle and wrap up in layers, in hats, and mittens. We know what that is like putting on all those things to brave and face the cold and wind. So what if each morning, what if in addition to all the stuff you put on, you imagine yourself bundling up, maybe even pretend to wrap yourself in one more piece–the love of Christ, the strength of the Spirit. Coated and clothed in that you will be a different type of beauty, not one maked up with maybelline, cover girl, but made up of boldness of belief, and with fearless faith. Putting on Christ, means don’t have to be putting out, and put upon. Because Jesus makes us worthy. This is better than any Cinderella story, this is not just wardrobe, but a life change, life transformation. Jesus clothes us with forgiveness so that our outfit may be merciful. Putting on Jesus, changes the patterns and designs from those of death and rejection, to life and hope. Jesus invites us today to walk this red carpet. But unlike all those award shows where there is only one winner, here all of us are granted and are given the greatest reward.
This is our red carpet moment, and I may never be asked. In truth, I hope that I (I hope that you) are never have to be asked “who are you wearing”, because we pray that each and every day, no matter where we are, no matter what’s going on, no matter what we are wearing, we pray that all who see us can plainly see, that who we are wearing is Christ, that we have put on the Lord Jesus. Amen.