Whenever I am in Glasgow I always make a point of visiting the Pauline Bookshop. It’s a Roman Catholic Christian bookshop. You might be able to take a person out of the Roman Catholic church but you cannot take the Roman Catholic church out of the person. My days of first confession and first communion may be long gone but that does not mean that I have ceased to confess or commune with God – I just do it elsewhere.
I picked up a small book of advent devotionals exploring the thoughts of the saints. We are all saints, of course, but these saints are the RC designated ones.
Although it may be devotions for Advent – I can’t wait, so I’m dipping in. Romans 13:11-14 was among the opening verses to meditate on.
“The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.” (Romans 13:11)
It’s an advent book, so one would expect passages to think about Jesus and the salvation that he brought with him, but it was the last sentence that caught my imagination
“Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!” Romans 13:14(The Message)
What are you wearing today? I am wearing Jesus.
Jesus isn’t really a made to measure garment so at times throughout the day, wearing Jesus got to be rather uncomfortable at times. Jesus isn’t only gentle, meek and mild – perhaps not even rather than not only. Jesus wasn’t any of those things when he challenged the hypocrisy of the religious leaders of his day. He wasn’t any of those things when he said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan.” (Meekness, BTW, is not weakness. The dictionary defines it as “the feeling of patient, submissive humility” – in Jesus’ case it was the submissive humility directed towards God. It was precisely because he was submissive to God that he challenged unrighteousness the way he did.)
“The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners” (Isaiah 61:1)
Wearing Jesus is not about being soft and fluffy. Just ask Oscar Romero when you see him in heaven.
One particular encounter during my day was unpleasant. It’s quite possible that Jesus slipped off my shoulders somewhere in the conversation. It was not my best moment and I was left feeling rather mangled.
“Forgive them.” The Holy Spirit told me that if I was wearing Jesus then forgiveness was not an optional extra. As much as I would like to have replayed the conversation, adding the things I never said, and colouring the tone of what I heard and stirring myself up to sow and nurture a grudge – if I am wearing Jesus, forgiveness not an option.