Dress up

I’m sure there are little girls who don’t like to play dress up, but I wasn’t one of them.

In my trunk of dress up–that was usually a pile around the trunk except when we had company–I had like three 70’s suits contributed by my father, brown yarn braids, gigantic glasses, a blue princess skirt, a pig nose, sunglasses, many ties my mother found she could get out of my father’s wardrobe by donating them to me, maracas, a dog nose, a plastic gun, a scarf, and a sombrero.  There was more than that, that I have no memory of, but I’d have known them back then.  I probably mixed and matched just about everything in that wardrobe at one time or another–tasteful or not so tasteful.  (I never had much of a sense of style, even back then.)

Anytime I had friends over, and they saw my dress up box, they always wanted to try stuff on.  Sometimes we spent so much time dressing up, we didn’t even have time to play anything once we got into costume.

The idea of dress up thrills me, even now.  The idea of trying on a new identity.  Being someone else.  Someone less complicated.  Or more mysterious.  Or more rebellious.  Or better behaved.  Or smarter.  Or more popular.  Or funnier.  Or more beautiful.  Or clever.  Or ridiculous.  Or powerful.

Just–someone else.

Why?  Why do so many of us want so badly to be someone else?  With all the self-esteem training of the 21st Century, the focus on accepting yourself for who you are and telling yourself you deserve whatever you want . . . why do we still find it so uncomfortable to be who we are?

We’re told our discomfort is just an illusion, a product of our environment.  There’s nothing better, or it’s all subjective, or nobody should be judging us, or we’ll be all right in the end somehow.  But we still want to dress up.  We still want to escape into the identity of someone else, hide from the consequences we’re afraid will catch up to us if we look into the mirror for too long.

But I don’t want to hear how beautiful I am, how the inner me is awesome, how I can sing songs and dance and everything I’ve ever done to ruin my life is going to pop into butterflies or evaporate in thin air or just not matter anymore.  I want to hear the truth.

We think we can’t handle the truth, that if we stripped ourselves bare we would see  more than we can possibly deal with.  And so we scramble from disguise to disguise, trying to fool everyone but ourselves into believing we are really nice, we are really important, we are really not broken, black-hearted, and beyond hope.

If that was the whole truth, we would be better off to throw on any costume we could.  But that’s only part of the truth.  It’s an unfriendly truth.  It’s a humiliating truth.  It’s a devastating truth.  But until I get my mind to here, at least in part, I can’t get my mind to the rest of the truth.

God is here.

“Shekinah glory”.

The shekinah glory was the Presence of God in the Holy of Holies in the Old Testament.  Shekinah glory filled the temple where God was worshiped.  That temple became the most holy place on earth, and the most secret room of the temple, where God’s very Presence dwelled, was so holy that only one priest could go in once a year to offer a sacrifice.  This secret room was the “Holy of Holies”–the place of God’s greatest glory on earth.

The priest had to wear a special wardrobe to go to the Holy of Holies.  He had to dress with the greatest care to be in the same room as the very Presence of God.  The holiness of this room was fearful beyond fearful.  There is a tradition that says the priest who entered the room wore bells on his garment and a rope around his foot so that, if he fell dead because he sinned in the Presence of God, the priests outside would stop hearing the bells and he could be pulled out.

Never in the wildest imagination of the priests of the Old Testament could they have guessed that, one day, God’s shekinah glory would be not in a manmade temple, but in the souls of humans.

One day, born in a little manger, the God of all shekinah glory came as a baby that had to be wrapped in swaddling clothes (a blanky).  This same God would one day be stripped of all His clothes and hung on a cross.

If He had only chosen, all the world could in that instant have seen His shekinah glory and fallen to their faces in terror.  Every evil soldier, every mocking bully, every cowardly deserter, every mindless rioter could have been struck dead by the atmosphere of His glory that has clothed God before time began and will clothe Him still after time ends.

But rather than reveal His shekinah glory for all to see, the God of all shekinah glory lays it down so He can open His arms to receive the sins of the world.

Incredible.  Unthinkable in the sinner’s mind.  Impossible in the sinner’s heart.   Yet God thought of this.  God chose this in His heart.

God’s righteousness was naked before the world, and the world did everything in its power to disfigure it.  The Bible says that Jesus was so gruesome from all the torture He had gone through, that at the end He could not even be recognized as a human to those who hadn’t been watching the disfiguration.

Satan knew the power of God’s shekinah glory.  Satan had been an angel once, in Heaven once.  He knew the glory of the Presence of God.  I think that Satan thought God, if stripped of His glory, could be defeated.

What Satan underestimated was the power of righteousness.

God, unveiled from His glory, revealed in that moment the incredible beauty of God.

The perfect, infinite, everlasting, absolutely pure, utterly potent righteousness of God was exposed for all the world to see, a righteousness that had, until then, been hidden from the eyes of sinful man, for no fallen man can look at God’s glory and live.

But every fallen man that day saw God’s righteousness.

And that is why there is no need for dress up, anymore.

Jesus unwrapped Himself from His shekinah glory to show us He is everything we are not.  God is righteous, through and through.

We are evil, through and through.  And no amount of costuming will ever change who we are on the inside.

But–

Jesus’ righteousness can dwell in us.  His righteousness can pierce through even the hardest evil of our souls, bleed out all our impurities, and empty us of who we were so that Jesus’ shekinah glory can fill our souls.  Clothed in His righteousness, we can have confidence that some day we will see the face of God.

We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. (Romans 3:22, NLT)

Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence. (Ephesians 3:12, NLT)

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Published in: on March 19, 2012 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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