The Dressing

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? 28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:25-24

Death where is thy sting? – Frostbitten Azalea; a special beauty – February 2021

Today; the New International Version…

Our friend died last night. February 17, 2021, 11:03 p.m.

About the time I settled in to write, Steve was walking home – hand in hand with Jesus, his Lord and our God. We share Him!

How do I know this? Because I knew Steve. He loved Jesus. This was his confession, therefore, Jesus declared Steve to be righteous. He has new clothes today. Beautiful new clothes fit for a child of the King.

I don’t know how it happened that they met; he and Jesus; fell in love, lived life together but they did. I saw it in Steve. He was a blessing. Today, I just wonder why Steve and not me. I really am ready. Steve had so much left to do…at least in my estimation. Cleary, I am not the expert estimator for it is when God speaks, that it is good, right, just and FINISHED. Today we are reeling from humanity’s loss of a wonderful man while heaven sings, “Enter in!” He wore his humanity well!

How do you wear yours – your humanity or humanness that is? Do you think about this? Your outerwear? – I do, often un fortunately in the most simplistic fashion – that of fashion! I’m inclined to choose clothing the night before for the following day’s plan and wake in the morning to find that I do not one bit desire to wear what I had chosen. Why is this? Perhaps I feel pudgy, or it is warmer than expected or cooler. It’s possible that I suddenly just don’t want to wear that color or the shoes which match it today! Maybe my day’s plan changed and a little more upscale would be more appropriate than jeans and a T-shirt or vice-versa.

Oh, there are reasons to be sure; some simply derived from fickle decision making and others from good sense…but do I consider the raiment of humanity with which I expose the world around me daily? Am I fitted in the armor of God or adorned with the fruit of the Spirit? Am I dressed for war and equipped with spiritual weaponry? Am I wearing the helmet of salvation, breastplate of righteousness, belt of truth, shoes of the gospel of peace, and carrying my shield of faith with sword of the spirit which is the Word of God? Am I wholly prepared and exuding love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control? If not…I likely need some work. My friend, we all need some work…and it is probable that we need some dressing-down… not dressing up. It is true. Dear one, what we need is redress; to be undressed; and to be re-dressed… This may sound sensual but is not meant to, however it is sensitive and painful and a place of vulnerability and rightfully so.

For this is not task for the faint of heart nor weak of soul. It is a task for the Father, the Good Father who does consider the lily and what she wears and how she wears it. He considers redress and gives holy attention to it. And so, it is Jesus in the flesh to whom I submit in agony of undressing as it is he who sees my wounds, scars and tears away at my old flesh of decay. It is He in the Spirit of Holiness who pours on balm and re-dresses me in righteous raiment and holds me strong and fast and steady until I am able once again to stand.

This is part of my Lenten walk – to be transparent before my God. Pray for me beloved, that I do it well and in righteous submission. You see, I have had this on my mind for some time now. Last October, as I drove to care for my granddaughter, this poem came to me a stoplights. I believe it to be a song but as of now, I only hear part of it in tune. This poem bears down on me and has for a time and so I stand (or dare I stand(?), perhaps sit or kneel or…) and trust our Creator God, Jesus in the flesh, the Spirit who changes and re-shapes; yes, trust the One God who entreats the soul to come forth afresh from the re-dressing into a new day.

Beloved, first grasp the terms… and then move on..

Redress – reprimand, rebuke, admonish, chastise, chide, reprove
Undress – to remove one’s outerwear; to take off one’s clothes
Re-dress – to dress again; clothes oneself again

Redress, Undress, Re-dress

Redress me with Your holy words,
Tell me what I should not say.
Entreat my best and show me Your love;
Hold my hand that I might know the way.

Undress me your Your holy hands.
Gently please, take the old clothes away.
Touch me in tenderness as they pull at my wounds;
Be my guard, be my guide, O please stay!

O hear the redress;
Words meant gentle and kind.
O bear the undressing,
Through stripes and their Cross.
Stand alone whole but naked,
Before eyes which see true.
Stand alone before Jesus –
He died for you.

Then, dress me in robes of Your righteousness;
Wrap me in Your holy drapes;
Clothes me as Your daughter of preciousness;
O dress me Jesus for Your mighty name’s sake.

O hear My redress;
Words meant gentle and kind.
O bear My tender undressing,
Through My stripes and My Cross.
Stand alone whole but naked,
Before My eyes which see true.
Stand alone before ME –
I died for you!

10-1-20 SLG

Steve was redressed, undressed and re-dressed on this side of heaven. It was evident in how he lived, loved, worked, played, prayed and shared his faith in Jesus among earth’s humanity as a “son of preciousness” held fast by the Cross of Jesus. And today he’s whole and newly clothed and no longer wondering, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ for our Father in Heaven has seen to Steve’s every need!

And I’ve cried over the loss of this brother today. I will cry again. I believe them to be worthy tears. In the days to come, I will cry with his widow as well. She too, is a “daughter of preciousness.” I love her dearly. The best news is that Jesus loves her most dearly. In Him she will walk through this shadowy time of deep sadness with her friends and family at her side. Let us ever be the hands and feet of Jesus to those who need us most. In His compassion, she and I will hug long and deeply; I think a Jericho Hug; until the walls come tumbling down.

55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 15:55-57
KJV

I love you,
Sondra

2 thoughts on “The Dressing

  1. From The Voyage of the Dawntreader:

    “Then the lion said — but I don’t know if it spoke — You will have to let me undress you. I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

    “The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was jut the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know — if you’ve ever picked the scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away.”

    “I know exactly what you mean,” said Edmund.

    “Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass, only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. And there was I smooth and soft as a peeled switch and smaller than I had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing this excerpt. I imagine being Edmund. Here is the part of the selection that I wish to experience at the times when my heart has felt this undressing and of course I wish only to feel it for the moment described – a moment in my own understood real time.

      “I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on — and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again. . . .”

      Leave to C.S. Lewis (whose birthday I happen to share) to present such an exquisite detail of redress, undressing and re-dress by the lion as we similarly experience before our holy God.

      Like

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