Year C Christmas 1 Luke 2 2012
Put On Some Clothes
Baptismal rituals are very different today than they were in the early church. There is a fourth-century rubric that instructs the bishop to enter the baptistery and give this command in a loud voice: "Take off your clothes." Whereupon our ancestors were immersed in the water of the font, with the men and women separated.
Everyone knows the Hans Christian Andersen story of "The Emperor's New Clothes." A couple of smooth-talking swindlers convince an egotistical king that he has just purchased the most gorgeous, elaborate, royal suit of clothes ever stitched together by human hands. Only those who are "hopelessly stupid" or "unfit for their position" can't see the beautiful clothes.
In reality, of course, the weavers have stripped the Emperor naked and he is parading around in his birthday suit. Yet the Emperor is so convinced he is wearing royal robes that none of his servants or secretaries, cohorts or companions will dare tell him the truth. It is not until a little child blurts out the fact, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" that the Emperor sees and grasps his state of undress.
This week's Colossians text is like that child's voice. It tells us clearly what naked faith looks like, and describes the garments worn by a genuine community of Christ...