Clothed in a Coat of Many Colors
July 21, 2022
By Jo Wiersema
Midweek Musings is a weekly Covenant blog with a variety of authors and a variety of topics.
I’m southern, through and through. I make sweet tea in the summer, I say y’all too often, and by golly I love Dolly Parton.
Dolly Parton was one of the many artists that made up the background music to my childhood. I grew up singing and dancing like I knew the pain and frustrations of working 9 to 5, and as I grew up, I fell in love with a little song called Coat of Many Colors.
The premise of the song, if you have not cried over it for the last 40 years, is there is a child who needs a coat in winter, but they cannot afford a new coat. Their mom sews them a coat made of rags in the house, and it turns into a coat of many colors. The colors are mismatched, but every stitch is sewn with love. The child is proud, and though they are made fun of, they are strong in their faith that this coat is priceless.
The plot, though not overly complex, has put me through the emotional ringer. When we think about what we clothe ourselves with, we are given our own coat of many colors from God. We are given compassion, kindness, meekness, humility, and patience (Col 3:12). We are given humble things, that others might view as rags, and we put them on.
This is something we say regularly, but holy heck, it’s wild. We could clothe ourselves in fine wool and silk, or we could clothe ourselves in uniformity and anonymity. Alas, that’s not what the author of Colossians tells us to do. We are called to what is not expected of us, we are called to flip the cultural table and put love first.
To live a life that has a coat of patience isn’t something I handle well. I’m grumpy after 9 PM, I hate sitting in traffic, and I struggle to put humility at the forefront of my mind.
Every stitch sewn with love, every patch, is a piece of the larger puzzle of the perfect coat. By wearing this coat, we might stick out. The others will notice our coat of many colors and ask us why we don’t have the same coat as everyone else.
To be Christian is to be different, to be countercultural, and to wake up in the morning and put on our coat of many colors.
In the children’s message this week, I spoke with the children about the different clothes we wear for different occasions. Maybe you’re in fancier clothes for church, or you wear a swimsuit to the pool, but no matter where we go, we must put on love.
As we were wrapping up, a child spoke up to say, “sometimes we need to clothe ourselves with love when we’re still in our pajamas”.
So, this week I ask you to put on your coat of many colors.
I ask you, even while pajama clad, you put on a coat of love.
Hope you pour yourself a cup of ambition today,