For the Sake of Appearances
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’” – Matthew 6:31 (NRSV)
Appearance is important, especially if you don’t worry it to death. You can think about costume and fashion and how you look a lot—even spend precious time on your nails and your hair and your bald spot’s repair—but you may not, in the Jesus way, worry it. Jesus thinks you are beautiful, just the way you are, varicose veins and all.
Worry is a sin against salvation, a crime against God’s promised grace and peace. It makes you too big and God too small.
Downton Abbey was popular because of its costumes. In the new movie, the upstarts have a contest with the dowagers about who has the fanciest set of fancies.
Some congregations are holding adult proms so people can wear their dress up clothes before the moths get all of them.
Fashion is a great business. I know sin infects the clothing industry like it does everything else, and some people spend way too much money on their appearance. On the other hand, there is no joy quite like lollygagging a whole afternoon at the Westhampton Beach Hospice Thrift Store. There you get rid of the disadvantages of the boutique—all one style—and can pretend you are casual or ornate, rich or poor, upstart or dowager. You can “try on” new appearances. You can wear other people’s hand-me-down costumes. Your money goes to a good cause.
“If it costs you your peace, it’s too expensive,” said Paulo Coelho.
Always dress well. Never worry about how you look.
Holy God, you of multiple costumes and beautiful ways to many kinds of beauty, draw near and let’s play dress up with you.
Donna Schaper is Pastor at the Orient Congregational Church on the far end of Long Island, New York. Her newest book is Remove the Pews: Spiritual Possibilities for Sacred Spaces, from The Pilgrim Press.