Sunday, April 03, 2016

Brandon And Jerry

Although I can't say I know him well, Brandon is one of my favorite people. He was a kid in our youth group when I moved to Houston and our Westbury congregation in 1998. Now he's grown up, a solid and amazingly polite young adult. He has a positive persona all the time, something I wish I could say about myself. This month, I'm part of a group which helps serve communion for the four Sundays of April. This morning, I was assigned one of the front sections of our auditorium. Brandon, his dad, and one of his sisters were on a pew in my area as I passed the bread and the cup. I noticed Brandon was wearing one sweet tie, one whose design I recognized. After Bible classes, I saw Brandon in the courtyard and I approached him.
"Hey, Brandon, is that a Jerry Garcia tie?" 

I don't think he knew what I was referencing so I flipped it around and sure enough, it was. Brandon didn't know anything about it- it was just a tie to him. I think I may have told him I have a large number of ties, including four or five of the Garcia brand.
He asked, "Who's Jerry Garcia?"
I told him he was the founder and lead singer of rock legends, The Grateful Dead. He drew a blank on that one, too. I told him to ask his dad. Oh, this younger generation! (FYI- the ties are based on Garcia's artwork and my favorite flavor of Ben And Jerry's Ice Cream is........ Cherry Garcia, named after you know who!) Well, I just hope Brandon wears it again- it's one cool piece of neck wear!

You know, I once had a similar situation myself. I have several ties with Chinese writing on them, gifts from students or ones I bought on my two trips to China. As I don't speak Mandarin, I am clueless to the message. A number of years ago, I wore one of them on Sunday morning to worship, both in English and Mandarin. Imagine my surprise when I found out it was covered with quotations from Chairman Mao. Needless to say, not all were impressed but they understood I wore it out of ignorance. I'm not saying naivete is a solid defense but at least it passes as an explanation. 

Choosing how we dress is important, at least in terms of modesty or vanity. We know some early Christians looked down on others whose threads were not as nice as theirs. In my case, I tend for the most part to wear to Sunday services what I wear to school. Not all my brothers are teachers so their wardrobes are crafted differently. I'm not here to argue dressing very nicely in the thought of being reverential or dressing more casually and putting others at ease. Guys have it easier than women- no one accuses us of dressing provocatively. It's more like we would be charged with dressing sloppily or in some kind of uncoordinated disaster. In fact, Jesus' pronouncements on clothing pretty much are summed up in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 6;
Don't worry about it. God knows you need clothing. The Father will take care of it. First seek the kingdom.
So, in my opinion, Brandon has it just about right. That tie to him is just a tie, whether it's Jerry Garcia or Pierre Cardin or some brand so anonymous, it doesn't even come with a guy's name stitched on. Brandon isn't there to show off with his outfit, anyway- he's there to praise God. I love it when he very humbly leads our church in prayer. He's talking to the Lord for all of us, even when he's just wearing a polo shirt.  And so today, I'm grateful Brandon wore that Jerry Garcia accessory, even if no one else noticed but me. Sometimes, it's the tie that binds.

Applicable quote of the day:
I mean, just because you're a musician doesn't mean all your ideas are about music. So every once in a while I get an idea about plumbing, I get an idea about city government, and they come the way they come. 
Jerry Garcia

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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