Clothed with the Love of Christ.
I wondered into the sanctuary and sat silently, anticipating worship. I glanced around as others filed in, bundled in their coats and hats. Layers of clothing. We had been warned: no heat in the sanctuary. The furnace had gone out. So, as we prepared for worship, we kept on our hats and gloves and coats.
Just before worship began, the musicians showed up, bundled up, just like us. I smiled–my favorite musician was playing today. Trent. Young father, husband, and friend and mentor to my son. But the fact that I know Trent is not why he is my favorite musician at church. (Well, maybe that helps a little!)
When Trent plays worship music, he displays joy. I can’t describe it, really. I watch him and it is as if he were dancing before God. The pure joy he expresses when he plays is raw and real. Despite the fact that his fingers must be freezing, he plays the banjo and mandolin with passion.
I look at him and I think — I want what he has. A big grin comes to my face. You can’t help but smile when you see him. His face and his movement express Christ’s joy.
Even when he isn’t playing music his eyes and smile reflect Christ. The way he connects with the person he is talking to. The genuine warmth and sincerity of his words. His compassion, kindness, gentleness. I think of his friendship with my son and what that friendship means to him. I think, as a mom, how I value that friendship for my son. How grateful I am that God brought Trent into my son’s life.
He is a gentle soul clothed with the love of Christ.
And, so as I worship Christ today, I think of Trent and what it means to live our faith and reflect Christ. Truly reflect Christ. To have His light shine through us.
I remember Paul’s letter to the Colossians:
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts . . . And be thankful.” Colossians 3:12-15
I read that verse again. And I realize that allowing the peace of Christ to rule in my heart that will allow me to fully reflect him — not just my effort to display compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. To “clothe” myself with these things requires first that I seek Christ’s face–seek a relationship with Him. He will clothe me in genuine, God-inspired compassion, kindness and humility. He will help me to display gentleness and patience and show me how to forgive fully. He will show me how to love completely.
And so, I turn toward Christ in this season of Epiphany.