Recently, I arrived at an event to discover another woman and I wore similar outfits. We had not phoned one another to coordinate. We just picked the same items from our individual closets. To some, this could be seen as a fashion faux pas. But, in this case, it reminded me of something basic and profound.
Every wardrobe should contain a few mainstay items:
skirts and slacks in black
coordinating jackets and sweaters in black
A white shirt, blouse, or pull-over
comfortable black shoes
a black belt
simple, but elegant accessories with pearls or diamonds.
This is dress for any formal occasion. It matches everything and never goes out of style. It reflects respect.
Maybe it all sounds cliché, but this outfit works. This is concert wear for playing in orchestras. It replaces robes for the choir. These are the colors worn by staff in high-class restaurants.
They are also worn by volunteer servers at funerals.
Most of us, myself included, desire a less monochromatic ensemble for less formal events. Yet, dressing for every occasion ought to require this essential, black-and-white raiment of Christian character traits.
Without a heart of compassion, we lack empathy. Inconsideration mocks kindness. Arrogance stomps on our humility. Harshness rubs out gentleness. Intolerance saps patience.
We hear quite a bit about putting on the armor of God.
Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6:13-17 NASB
Yet, without heart, stamina to stand firm wanes. Truth back-flows into lies. Self-righteousness inflates our egos. Pumped up with hot air, there isn’t a piece of us left for peace-making. Shields of faith drop. Helmets of salvation appear dented. The sword of the Spirit remains sheathed.
Maybe it all sounds cliché. But, perhaps it’s the classiest, black-and-white thing we can do as Christians. What adds grace to our servitude, what turns our page from a sorrowful dirge to a joyous chorus is wearing our hearts on our sleeves.