In another vision the Lordshowed me the High Priest Joshua standing before the angel of the Lord. And there beside Joshua stood Satan, ready to bring an accusation against him. 2 The angel of the Lordsaid to Satan, “May the Lordcondemn you, Satan! May the Lord, who loves Jerusalem, condemn you. This man is like a stick snatched from the fire.” 3 Joshua was standing there, wearing filthy clothes. 4 The angel said to his heavenly attendants, “Take away the filthy clothes this man is wearing.” Then he said to Joshua, “I have taken away your sin and will give you new clothes to wear.” 5 He commanded the attendants to put a clean turban on Joshua's head. They did so, and then they put the new clothes on him while the angel of the Lordstood there.
Today my parents celebrate sixty-one years of marriage.
My parents were young when they were married. My father was seventeen, my mother was eighteen. I was born five months after they were married. You figure the math.
On my parents fiftieth anniversary, I preached at their church outside Beatrice, Nebraska. The title of the message was “We All Deserve To Wear White”.
You see, my mother wore a white wedding dress for her wedding. At the time, women who were pregnant or remarrying did not wear white. (To clarify, this is my mother’s first and only marriage). I believe it is a terrible tradition. It is saying the woman is ‘not pure enough to wear white’. And then why doesn’t the same standard apply to the groom?
I started the message with the reading from Zechariah. In that reading, Satan (whose Hebrew name means ‘accuser’) accuses Joshua of not being ‘pure enough’ to be accepted by God. However, God orders Joshua to be clothed in new, clean clothes. The symbolism is that God has cleaned Joshua of his sin.
Then I pulled up my mother’s baptismal certificate. It is very ornate and written in German. Anyway, there is a tradition when children are baptized, they are dressed in white. This symbolizes the washing away of sin. The child is declared pure through baptism.
I then applied it to my parents. Through Christ, we all deserve to wear white.
My parents’ marriage has had its ups and down. Yet through the years, they have been clothed in the baptism of Christ. They are as much children of God today as they were then.
The same is true of my wife and I. On June 14, we celebrate thirty-nine years of marriage. We have had our ups and downs. But we are as much children of God today as we were then.
There is a lot of shaming in our world today. Christ will not let us shame others. Instead, Christ calls us to see other clothed in the waters of baptism.
Christ declares, “You all deserve to wear white!” We do because of what Christ has done.
May we see others according to Christ’s view of us.
Peace Lutheran Church
Mill Valley, California