You can’t expect to change the world with every sentence you write. It may be too much to expect you can change even a single heart with a thing you write. But we don’t write to change things any more than we sleep to wake up in the morning. We sleep because we must, because we grow tired, and then we dream. We write because we must, because we grow restless inside, and then we dream. ~ Me, just now
This scripture has always confused me. It’s not because it’s difficult to understand; it’s because I’ve never understood why the writer decided to put it in there. Who gives a crap what they did with Jesus’s clothes? They’re just clothes. Would it have been worth mentioning if they’d decided to toss them out or burn them? And what did a bunch of soldiers want with a soon-to-be dead Jewish guy’s clothing anyway?
I think I’m just too American to have seen the point until now. It starts making sense when I understand that clothing was not commoditized then like it is for us. Clothing was handmade and rather precious. The soldiers seemed particularly enamored with Jesus’s underwear, which was hand woven and all one piece. Jesus was broke and homeless, so he clearly didn’t buy those high priced undies himself. I think somebody must have made them for him as a gift, somebody who loved him. This heaps additional poignancy onto an already sad picture — Jesus, stripped naked, nailed to a cross, and a bunch of armored meatheads are tossing dice to see who gets to keep the underwear his mother sewed for him.
If I’m ever unfortunate enough to be executed, I doubt anybody will be calling dibs on my stretched out Fruit Of The Looms.
It’s strange where the mind goes when we see or hear certain things. I heard an interview with filmmaker Andrew Morgan this week. He’s creator of the film The True Cost, a sobering documentary highlighting the injustices propagated by Western society’s addiction to fast fashion. Fast fashion isn’t enough for us, though. We also love cheap fashion. We love consumable fashion. I get to thinking about all this injustice and the way we’ve turned clothes into consumables, and where does it lead me? Jesus’s underwear. His underwear was the opposite of fast fashion. It was meaningful fashion, worth throwing dice for.
The late comedian Garry Shandling (also a prophet, in my mind) said, “Every problem in the world comes down to a lack of mindfulness.”
No doubt, there’s an extreme mindfulness deficit in today’s world. But maybe there doesn’t need to be. Maybe all the digital pollution that serves to keep us from paying attention can redeem itself by making us aware. I know it did for me this week. I hear about the injustice caused by consumable fashion, and now I find myself checking the labels of my clothes. Of course, it’s not enough to be aware of these things; we must be willing to alter our behavior once we learn of them.
Contrary to popular belief, the biblical towns of Sodom and Gomorrah did not meet their doom because of sexual immorality. The New Testament says that God was displeased with the people because they were “overfed and unconcerned.” Sounds a lot like us, if you ask me. I think we can do better. I think we can become more mindful of the world around us and stop being reduced to mindless consumers.
I know one change I’m making, starting with my next underwear purchase. No more cheap, droopy underwear for this guy. I’m going to invest in some comfortable, fair trade underpants that a Roman soldier would be willing to gamble for.
How about you? In what ways can you be more mindful?