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people of praise

Try on true Easter clothes


“In your Easter bonnet with all the frills upon it, you’ll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.”

As Easter approaches, my mind drifts back to the words of this happy tune written by Irving Berlin. The thought here is the purchase of new bonnets and clothes in harmony with yearly spring renewal and spiritual renewal as well.

New garments – new life. Quite a thought, but that very thought is conveyed in Holy Scripture as well.

In various states, if someone commits a crime, they are ordered to wear the clothing provided for them by the state. The clothing may have stenciled on it “I am a drunk driver,” or maybe “I am a thief.” Do the people deserve the humiliation? They probably do. But I wonder why we sometimes impose the same thing on ourselves?

We often dress ourselves in our mistakes. We robe ourselves with our own poor choice. We put on the apparel of “I should have paid more attention in school,” “I should have given my parents or my children more of my time,” or “I shouldn’t have wasted my youth.” And then we “work” to overcome those “bad” deeds. We try to overcome bad deeds with good ones.

The only problem is, we’re not sure what work to do or how long to do it. How about if we turn to the Bible? If there is any book that should tell us what works we have to do to cover up our mistakes, our blemishes, our faults, that ought to be it.

But it doesn’t. Instead, it tells that Jesus took all our sins with him to the cross. The death of Jesus on the cross is not an incidental theme in Scripture; it is the very core of God’s plan of salvation.

On the cross, God dressed Jesus with all the clothes in our hidden closet – “I cheated my friends,” “I lied to my wife,” and on and on and on. He empties our closet of those clothes we keep dragging out and burns them at the foot of the cross.

And now God says to us, through the prophet Isaiah, “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6) and “He bore the sins of many” (Isaiah 53:12). You can get rid of regretful clothing of the past. Toss it in the fire.

Any more good news? Oh yes. When you accept Christ as your Lord and savior, you get a new set of clothes. St. Paul tells us, “If anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation; the old things have passed away, all things have become new.”

But be prepared to become a priest, as St. Peter writes: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9), and someone fashioned by God, as St. Paul writes: “For we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:10).

Any more good news? Yes. While the clothes you wear for Easter can wear out or moths can destroy them, the new clothes God hands to you are going to last forever. When you accept the gift of eternal life, which Jesus earned on the cross for you, your name is written in the Book of the Lamb. Not in pencil, which can be erased , but with the blood of Jesus, which will not be removed.

In Christ, God is completely satisfied with you. There is no price to be paid. Jesus paid it all. Join the Easter parade to the cross. Reach out and put on the new clothes God has ready for you.

The Rev. Phil Schamehorn is pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Ligonier. If you are interested in submitting a column (750 words or less), send it to Terri Richardson, The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St., Fort Wayne, IN 46802; fax 461-8893 or email Include your name, religious organization and a phone number where you can be reached. For more information, call 461-8304.