Now comes the time of year, in which we are not sure what to wear week by week; because it could be 45 degrees Fahrenheit one week and minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit the next. In the letter to the Colossians, the author writes how to dress, regardless of the weather; but rather how to dress for the faith we confess.
To begin with, we must take off the clothes and beliefs that we have, just like Moses before the burning bush, he must take off his shoes because he is standing on holy ground. The Hebrew word that is translated into Spanish for “take off” literally means “to throw away.” Like a snake regularly sheds its skin, we too must pay attention to what we wear when it comes to our faith and beliefs.
In the third chapter of the letter to the Colossians, we read that we must begin to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, and gratitude. When we begin to clothe ourselves with these attributes, we learn to deal with our neighbors and with our own sense of identity. We are called to forgive each other; How many start out being able to forgive themselves for the actions we do or do not take? How many of us cling to the mistakes we make and wrap ourselves in chains to drag us around for the rest of our lives? It has been said that holding a grudge that we have towards others is like offering poison to the person, but we ourselves drink the poison in the hope that the other person will die.
We are called to clothe ourselves with love, which unites everything in perfect harmony. One of the most difficult people we have to learn to love is ourselves. In this political and emotional moment, the separation from one another is becoming wider. What would it be like if we could love ourselves and others? Throughout Christian scripture, we are called to forgive, love, and pray for one another; including those we perceive as our enemies.
We must continue to dress from the inside out: dressing our hearts with the peace of Christ. The Hebrew word shalom is often translated into English as peace. Shalom does not mean the absence of war, but the fullness of God within us and between us. Shalom is love, justice, healing and reconciliation with God, with ourselves and with others. This will lead us to be grateful not only for each other, but also for all humanity and creation; because God created everything.
As we allow the word of Christ to dwell within us, we will learn to live faithful lives with the richness that God calls for us. With Christ dwelling and residing within us, our thoughts and actions are transformed. It will be with each heartbeat and breath that Divinity will flow through us into all creation, including each other.
We are called to teach and admonish one another with wisdom and love. To teach and admonish one another, we must start with ourselves. We are called to recognize the poison, the painful and hurtful words that we speak to ourselves, but also that we speak with our own internal thoughts. Let the power of God bring forgiveness and love before we begin to teach and admonish one another; then we can speak words of power, love, grace, and forgiveness from within and without.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu died last week. He was known for his ability to speak the truth and love those in powerful positions. Tutu didn’t beat around the bush when speaking truth to power; He was able to speak bright and healing light where the darkness of humanity and power resides. He not only called out to his “enemies,” but he also called out to his allies when they addressed the darkness of power over the powerless.
As we move into this new year, with COVID-19 and the political divide increasing, leading us into the darkness of humanity; let us clothe ourselves, inside and out, with Christ as our guide, in word and deed. We remember that Christ is the Light and the Word of God, running into darkness to bring God’s grace, and darkness cannot overcome light. Speak the truth to your own power within yourself, and then slowly to others; But in everything, give thanks to God for everything that we are going to incarnate.
With prayers of peace, grace and love as we walk together into this new calendar year …