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  • Sarah Raad

Jackets

God knows that there is infinite value in the nothingness left of Christ…

Crucifix (Michaelangelo)

I tend to prefer the warm weather to cold weather. I always feel the cold and tend to be one of those people who carry around a light jacket all year round in case the weather gets a little bit nippy, because I hate the discomfort of feeling cold. I often stress my husband out because I wear cardigans even in the summertime and he cannot understand how anyone would add layers in the heat!


In the early Spring – even though the weather starts to warm up – the morning still starts off pretty-cold! And so, it is very common for me to throw on a jacket early in the morning during Spring.


I was wearing one of those jackets a few weeks ago just before my children and I decided to take an early morning walk together. The morning was chilly, but never-the-less, I changed jackets from the thick, warm winter coat that I had been wearing to a thinner jacket because I knew that along the way, I would get hot, and I knew that the winter coat was too thick for me. And – just as predicted – though the thinner jacket was initially too thin to rally keep me warm, it ended up being too heavy to keep me cool by the end of the walk...


I was reflecting on this change over the last few weeks as the weather has become warmer because it reminds me of the way that I approach my faith.


You see, just as I start my walk thinking about wearing a thick winter coat, I approach my Beloved, concerned with all sorts of unnecessary worldly things. After all, though nice clothes, a nice car, and a nice home are all nice to have – they are not essential. And I get to a stage where I ask myself whether it is NECESSARY that I get myself the very best of everything – after all there is nothing wrong with lowering my standards or changing my priorities. I am not saying that I would go without a car or a home, but I do not NEED the newest or the latest model – not that there is anything wrong with that! And so, I start to think about the cost of wearing that winter coat around all day long – especially when I do not need to…

And so, I decide – before I even leave my house – that I need to start cutting back a little bit. And in this way, I replace the thick winter coat with a thin lightweight jacket instead…

This is like when I settle for the second (or third or fourth) best thing and stop and give thanks for what I have without begrudging my neighbour. And – at first – this does not feel very comfortable at all! After all – right at the beginning of the walk – I feel a little bit cold because the jacket is a little bit thin and I am not used to it yet. And so, I shiver a bit and jog a little faster to try to warm up so that I am not uncomfortable for the entire duration of my walk. It is in this same way that my having a little bit less can cause me to STOP, LOOK up, and GIVE THANKS to God!


Sometimes the STUFF can get in the way and what I really need is to cut back. And the joy is that this action of cutting back – the sacrificial giving-up – can make me stronger in my faith because it means that just as I build fitness and endurance by jogging faster and working-out harder to warm myself as I am missing stuff, so too, do my prayers change, the better to focus on God!


And then – when I am on my way walking along the road – I get really hot. It is then that my jacket – thin though it is – becomes such a burden to me, that before long I throw it off altogether... On the City2Surf, participants are encouraged to throw their jackets and jumpers to the side of the road while they are running the race and at the conclusion of the race, volunteers collect the discarded clothes to launder them and donate them to the poor. And just as this happens in this great race, and on my own insignificant little walk, as I cast my jacket off, so too does it happen like this with prayer. Because when the distractions are minimised, I can really start praying in a meaningful way about meaningful things...

That is when we realise that all the STUFF and the THINGS are just getting in the way, and what I really need is to cast them off and focus on what is important.

And so now, as the weather warms up, and the jackets get thinner, I pray that God will grant me the Grace to see the value in only the things that He values.


After all, the Son of Man died NAKED on the Cross for love of me.


And even then – when He was dead and we were finished with the torture – He did not even keep one drop of His own blood for Himself, for He valued the treasures of God. And God knows that there is infinite value in the nothingness left of Christ… Truly infinite value! And this TRUTH is all I ever wish to see…


For with prayer, I stand on Holy Ground where everything is clear. Here. At the Foot of the Cross.

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