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Colossians 3:12

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.

Wearing our trousseau

My daughters were baptized in the white baptismal dress that clothed me when I was baptized. My Father was baptized in that gown in Denmark, and his mother before him. That long white gown goes back generations, extending not only back in time, but across time to my uncles and brothers, cousins, nieces and nephews. But we are bound together not simply by a family tradition; we are bound together by a promise of God. God has pledged to complete in us the spiritual journey promised with that water – not just of washing, but of dying and rising, of drowning and being raised to life. Our innate selfishness must be slain that a new creature be born. (The old Adam must die.)

Go back far enough in time and the baptismal rite involved stripping off all your old clothes, renouncing your old gods, confessing the Lord Jesus, going down into the water and coming out the far end of the pool to be dressed in a new white robe. The baptismal gown is the legacy of that era. We are clothed in Christ. Baptism is a moment in time that crystalizes a profound spiritual journey, just as a wedding vow captures in a moment the long journey that has brought two lives together – and the future that is yet to come.

When we pray for God’s will to be done, we are praying, in part, for God to finish the work begun in baptism of clothing us in Christ. And so the author of this letter talks about being clothed with the fruits of that transformation: “compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” We are to be mindful of our journey. We are not saving the robes of the new creation for some distant future like a young girl with a trousseau tucked away in a hope chest; we are getting used to their fit now. Amen. Come Lord Jesus.

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