Morning Mercy & Wearing God

Ever since I was little, it has taken everything in me to get out of bed. Luckily for me, as a long standing joke with my family, this is fabulously documented in home videos where, as a 5 year old, I emerged from my bed in zombie-like motion with my hair mashed to one side of my head as my small stature couldn’t contain the disdain I had for being disturbed from my sweet slumber. Apparently it was such a sight that my dad’s recording of it has become a family favorite to watch over the holidays (thanks, Dad). Fortunately, somehow my own reluctance sharpens my view of God’s mercy (because I clearly need an extra boost of mercy-energy to get out bed).

I’m slowly discovering the holiness of mornings. And it might be holier simply because it’s harder. But beyond that, the simple act of getting dressed in the morning has taken on new meaning.

I think if life were to write me a note, it would echo the words of Maya Angelou when she says “your crown has been bought and paid for. Put it on your head.” It’s an act of wearing, of putting on a version of self that is my better self because it’s an image of Jesus.

This symbolism of wearing God has been a source of deep significance for me. It comes in part from Lauren Winner’s book, Wearing God, that examines various ways of imagining God that are often over-looked in scriptures, including imagining God as clothing.

When I think about wearing God, I think about a conscious act of putting on material that is an expression of who I am. As the author puts it, it forms our sense of self and how we’re perceived by others. It’s an extension of my identity and is at once personal and communicative. It reminds me of the nearness of God, of his presence in life. It reminds me to wear the things of God as part of my very being – his love, truth, patience, justice.

To put a crown on my head, one that was bought and paid for is painfully humbling, but also beautifully liberating. Jesus and the things of Jesus are to become a part of who I am. Not in a self-absorbing, symbol status kind of way, but rather through the conscious act of putting on clothes and being clothed. I draw a keen awareness of Jesus from this idea. The physicality of this symbolism and the daily routine of waking in the morning and trying to remember that God’s mercies are new brings purpose for me and informs how I might interact with the world.

Just this morning at church, the speaker discussed how choosing to follow Jesus is not a one-time decision, but a conscious daily one. Like a person who is recovering from addiction, they must choose a better way of life, a better way of being, each day. Zora Neale Hurston says that “there are years that ask questions and years that answer,” but I’ve found the same to be true amidst my days, weeks, and months. And in the swirling of questions and answers, and in the mix of doubt and clarity, I might daily practice choosing to be dressed in what I know to be true of Jesus.

So even when I wake up bleary-eyed and hair awry, or when I’m overwhelmed by life and am reluctant to take on a new day, somehow the mundane of getting dressed in the morning might become something holy. In doing so, I’m reminded of God’s presence and nearness and the good things of God, so that it might seep into my bones, my very being.

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