While visiting my daughter in Pittsburgh last weekend, we came across an elaborate Halloween store. Can’t resist that! Eventually, I wandered into an aisle of religious-oriented outfits. There were the usual ones: nun, rabbi, priest. And one I’d never seen before.
Yes, you can go Trick-or-Treating as Jesus this year. (That’s a photo of the costume above.)
What do you think about that?
I’m guessing some people will feel offended; I understand and respect where they’re coming from. Others would see it as harmless and find some humor in it. (Hey, see the guy in the Jesus costume? He gave treats to the whole neighborhood using only two Swedish Fish.)
I had a feeling there was material for a blog in all of this somewhere, so I took a photo, filed the idea in the back of my brain, and moved on to inspect the rubber rats and flying bats that are more my style.
Eventually, a thought worked its way into the front of my brain:
Why shouldn’t someone wear a Jesus costume?
And, in fact, if you believe in what he’s passionate about and what his life is about, shouldn’t you in some sense be wearing a Jesus costume every day?
(Note: Don’t be turned off if you come from a different religious background or don’t think of yourself as religious. This idea applies to everyone, no matter where you are in life.)
Whatever your religion or your beliefs or values, shouldn’t you be wearing them each day?
If the idea of wearing a costume is off-putting, consider that we wear costumes all the time. Look at how we dress for various occasions. And isn’t it fascinating how each generation dresses a certain way? Do you wear your pants up or down? Tuck in the shirt or let it hang out? Tight jeans or baggy ones?
We all have our dress codes. Our costumes.
We also have other costumes that don’t involve clothes per se. For instance, we like to wear the costume of competence. We try to look like we’re cool, important, competent, in control of our lives — even though we know we’re no different than anyone else on the inside.
When we’re young, we slip easily into the costume of invincibility and do dangerous and stupid things. (As adults, we pull that one out of our closets from time-to-time, too.) Sometimes, we don a cloak of invisibility and try to just get though something with nobody noticing us.
Also, there are times when we tap into the best parts of ourselves and wear a superhero costume, becoming one in some sense. Other times, we’re very much the mild-mannered mortals.
So many different costumes we wear in life.
Which brings us back to that Jesus costume.
Look at it. Yeah, it’s very weird and disturbing on several levels. The crown of thorns — really? The sash? And that hideous beard? C’mon.
So, what costume did he really wear?
It wasn’t the clothes. Evidently, he didn’t have many of those. His costume was something he wore inside. A spirit woven into the very core of who he is.
He dressed up as love. As compassion. As visiting the sick and the imprisoned. As sharing everything with the poor and needy. As caring for those who are hungry, thirsty, or just in need of a kind word. As healing and forgiving. As embracing the outcast.
As making sure that everyone is treated as an equally beloved child of the same God. As working for peace and justice.
And loving. Always loving. Because love is what matters. If you have love, you have all you need. Everything flows from that.
That is the costume.
Thankfully, it doesn’t involve a gawd-awful beard. And the Swedish Fish are optional.