A cosmic fashion statement

[] God the master tailor

‘What goes on inside that head of yours, Grandad?’ asked Richard as he glanced through the file of single-page print-outs of my biblical blogs. It’s just that I tend to look at familiar scriptures from an angle that few have thought to try. For instance, Hebrews 1:10-12, quoting Psalm 102:25-27 suggests to me that God created the entire cosmos as his royal robes. ‘Like a robe [he] will roll them up’ when Jesus returns, ‘like a garment they will be changed’ as God dons a change of clothes, ‘new heavens and a new earth’ (2 Peter 3:13). And how gorgeous these garments can appear, whether as an aerial view of thousand of flamingos massed in a Kenyan lake or a close up camera shot of tiny desert flowers that suddenly blossom after a rare shower of rain and soon shed seeds that lie dormant again in the burning sand awaiting the next shower after another decade or more.

Yet, although God made all his own clothes, he permits humans to embroider these magnificent garments, and even deface them. Indeed, he sometimes restores human failures, such as widespread forest and moorland infernos caused by careless picnickers, with a covering of fresh greenery within a few years of the devastation.

[] Jesus’ commandeered clothes

On occasions during his public ministry, sick people would ask to be allowed merely to ‘touch the fringe of [Jesus’] garment. And as many as touched it were made well’ (Matthew 14:35-36; Luke 8:44). But no aura emanated from those garments when removed, as became obvious when the four soldiers on Calvary’s hill divided his clothes among themselves and, leaving his inner tunic intact, gambled for it (John 19:23-24; Psalm 22:18). The healing power had always gone out from him via his garment (Luke 8:46).

[] We may adorn the glorious attire of our great high priest

Here is another astonishing thought that we may miss unless we look at scripture from an appropriate angle: God did not send the glorious robes of Aaron the high priest from heaven ready made; he raised up Spirit-filled tailors to make those garments of glory and beauty (see Exodus 28:3-6); but they had to make them according to a heaven-sent pattern. Have we ever given conscious thought to the new covenant counterpart to this – that we can contribute to the heavenly garments of our great high priest? We are exhorted, after all, to consider Jesus, the … high priest of our confession’ (Hebrews 3:1). Our contributions of personal and corporate worship and witness must be scripturely-inspired and not merely a matter of personal and cultural preference. Ouch!

[] We must embroider the robes God has bestowed on us

Just as God clothed Adam and Eve in leather to replace their withering homemade aprons, so God has donated to us ‘garments of salvation’ (Isaiah 6i:10) including ‘the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness’ (Isaiah 61:3). We now have the responsibility to embroider them with good works that will endure (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

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