Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Parable of the Blue Blazer

Kopp Disclosure
(John 3:19-21)



Except for weddings and funerals when I need to look pretty for pictures (former) and public protocol (latter), I just can't bring myself to wear outrageously expensive vestments to symbolize humble servanthood anymore.

However, vestments did serve another egotistical/vocational function - hiding my expanding waistline - which, I guess, is why I still wear blazers; unless, of course, the air conditioning ain't workin'.

Parenthetically, I remember teaching a D.Min. class on homiletics at Kansas City's Nazarene Theological Seminary back in the mid-80s and mentioning how vestments were/are/maybe intended to subordinate personal affectations to, uh, homiletics; whereupon a feisty grad student chirped, "We don't wear vestments in our denomination because we don't want to come off as being superior to..." I asked, "What do you wear?" He said, "We wear a dark suit, dark tie, and black shoes." I asked, "Do you wear the same thing every Sunday; and does everyone in your church dress like Mormons?" He said, "Yes, our clergy wear the same thing every Sunday and, no, our people dress as they please for worship." "In other words," I said, "you wear vestments that probably come off as..."

Be that as almost nobody really cares these days except for too many clergy who need to feel superior to..., a button popped on my blue blazer on Easter Day!

Fortunately, I still had another one in my study's closet because I hadn't given it away yet.

Really, how many blue blazers does one really need?

Jesus warned, "If you really want to be mine, give away what you don't really need" (a Taylor-kinda paraphrase).

Anyway, I walked into one of our adult Sunday School classes and blurted, "I just popped a button on my blue blazer! I guess it's a good thing that I didn't give away the other blue blazer yet!"

A few people in the class nodded agreement.

But then the Sunday School teacher said, "With all of the things you've been saying and writing about following Jesus by giving away what you don't really need, I fully expected you to show up in sackcloth and ashes today."


If you don't understand the Biblical/spiritual significance/symbolism of sackcloth and ashes, it's because it shows.

Regardless, which is how most clergy like me feel about it these days, I smiled and said, "I'm just not obedient enough yet; but when I really start taking Jesus seriously, I'm gonna stop worrying about what I wear and spend more time trying to be more like Jesus because that's what it means to follow Him. But, right now, I'm just not that close to Him to be that obedient. But when I get closer to Jesus, I will start..."

He smiled.

He got it/Him.

I'm trying/praying.

Jesus does not look at what's on the outside.

He's not superficial.


His are not that superficial.

He looks deeper.

His look deeper.

I'm reminded of the wiser old undershepherd who warned, "If you've got a problem with your watch, don't look at the hands! Look deeper!"

Looking pretty isn't the same as being...

Jesus was clear on that.

Matthew 23:27-28.

Whenever I read that, I feel guilty; and, uh, BTW, nobody can make you feel anything unless it's true.


Truly, I fall short.

Truly, He doesn't.

Truly, I need Him as Savior 'cause I often think/talk/act/look like He ain't my Lord.

I've got too many blue blazers in my...



Blessings and Love!

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