New Easter Outfits
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.” Galatians 3:27
Growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, many women would purchase hats in the Spring time. They could wear their new hat on Derby Day, but also on Easter. It was not just a time for women to dress up though. As a child, my mother would drag my brother and I each Spring to Sears to get new outfits and try to make us presentable for Easter. As our culture has grown increasingly casual in dress, Easter no longer is an occasion for such fineries. The Easter season, however, provides the opportunity to be reminded that Easter is actually all about putting on the very best outfit.
When writing about Holy Baptism, St. Paul makes use of several different metaphors for what God is accomplishing in baptism. Martin Luther, in one of his sermons on baptism, writes about baptism as both new birth, but also as putting on something new. He writes, “Now then the power of Baptism is that a human being is born again; that is he is stripped of the old skin and old birth which he brings with him such as sin and death, and put on the true baptismal gown that is the innocence and death of Christ.”
Holy Baptism is not about the family baptismal gown that is worn by each member of the family. It is about that trading our filthy rags of sin and shame for the robe of Christ’s righteousness and the garment of salvation that are placed upon us when the Spirit kindles faith within our hearts. It is the most beautiful Easter finery with which one could ever be adorned – Christ Himself. Whether you wore something borrowed or something new to church, you are perfectly clothed through faith in the perfect Christ. No longer should any feel that they don’t have the right clothes to come to church. Instead, we invite them to come and let our Lord clothe them in His forgiveness and love that He freely gives through His Word and through the baptismal waters. There is nothing wrong at all with baptismal gowns and Easter hats (though the plaid pants that I wore in the 70’s were definitely a mistake). Those things can be reminders for perfect Easter outfit that we have all put on through Christ.
Prayer – Almighty God and Father, we praise and thank You that we have been clothed with the robe of Christ’s righteousness that covers all of our sins. Therefore, through Christ, we shall stand without fear before the judgment seat of Christ to receive the inheritance prepared for us from the foundation of the world; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Fraternally in Christ,
President Lee Hagan