Friday, December 02, 2016

The Scarlet Letter

In sixteen days, I will be preaching Tiffany and Tony's wedding.... and no one will care what I wear! The following, on the topic of clothes and weddings, is from from November 27, 2006.

In Matthew 22, Jesus tells a parable about a wedding banquet. A king threw a feast for his son to celebrate the joyous occasion. When the father/head of the kingdom sees a guest dressed inappropriately, he has the man thrown outside with the implication that punishment would be forthcoming. It's a pretty stern warning! Ten days ago, I officiated the wedding of Emily and Josh, now formerly referred to as Mr. and Mrs. Joshua Wood. Sometimes when I preach weddings, the bride asks me to wear a tuxedo. Emily requested that I dress in a suit. It just so happens that I own a gray suit which has served me well in performing other nuptials. My students voted and picked out the tie I would wear. The only article of clothing remaining was the shirt. I knew I would wear a white one and I own a white one, but that wasn't going to be good enough. The only store credit card I possess is to KOHL'S and they had just sent me a thirty percent off coupon in the mail. Checking the on-line advertisements, I discovered they were having a sale so I drove to the nearest KOHL'S to complete my minister's wardrobe. It didn't take long. I found a 15 1/2, 34-35 white long sleeve oxford shirt on sale for half price. Slice that down by my thirty percent discount and I ended up paying only $15.40 for a shirt that retails for $44.00! It still had the new shirt folded up look so Gracie Greer, our Director of Curriculum, ironed it for me. I have to admit, and I say this humbly, I ended up looking pretty sharp when all the pieces were put in place. But at a wedding, nobody looks at anybody but the bride. Of the many who honored this fine couple with their attendance, I bet not five could tell you what I wore. That's the way it should be.

Today was our first day back to school after Thanksgiving and I wore my new shirt. The bonus question on all our Bible quizzes was as follows:
In what country was my new shirt manufactured?
A. Belize
B. Bahrain
C. Bolivia
D. Belgium
E. Bangladesh
F. Bahamas
G. Brazil

(For the answer, you have to read the rest of this and find it at the bottom!)
I have a confession to make. I think the shirt was overpriced to begin with. It is a CHAP'S shirt, manufactured by Ralph Lauren. The logo C is stitched very prominently into the shirt pocket. They want us to see it. It stands for something. I think we are to believe it is symbolic for the good life and beautiful people that decorate their glossy ads. What it really means to me is that we are willing to pay three times what a shirt is worth to have that little C displayed on our chest. We buy into the illusion. We confuse quality, which is admirable, for status, which is boastful and arrogant. I think it is a quality shirt and it fits me well but the arrogance it can dress me in would not be becoming. In Jesus' parable, the man had no answer when he was asked why he arrived improperly outfitted. I didn't get tossed that Saturday: I looked OK on the outside. I hope my heart was acceptable under that red monogram.

Applicable quote of the day:
"Fashion is what you adopt when you don't know who you are."
Quentin Crisp

Answer to today's bonus question: BANGLADESH

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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