A couple of months ago I wrote a post on reimagining our spiritual practices. I wrote that I feel we really limit our understanding of God and faith when we restrict our spiritual practices to prayer and scripture study. I also said that for me a spiritual practice is any routine I perform on a regular basis that connects me more intimately with God and God’s purposes.
I thought a lot about this over the weekend as I was conducting a Rhythms of Grace retreat for a local church. I wondered what would happen in my own life if I reimagined everything I did as an opportunity both to encounter and to represent Christ. This morning I further reflected: What would happen if every time I got dressed in the morning I reimagined this daily routine in the light of my relationship with Christ?
I started to think about the people whose lives are interconnected to mine because they produced the raw materials to make my clothes. I looked at the labels and considered the conditions employees worked in to provide me with clothes. Some I knew were small children, virtual slaves whose young lives were spent in atrocious conditions in order to provide inexpensive items for me to wear. I prayed for them and for the organizations that work to abolish this kind of slavery. I thought about those who transport and sell the garments and how lives have been impacted by the economic downturn. I prayed for them as well. By the time I was dressed I felt connected to people all over the world that I had never really thought of or prayed for before and in the process felt I had connect to God and God’s heart for these people in a new way.
There is another way too that I sometimes connect to God through the process of getting dressed. Sometimes my thoughts revolve around the spiritual analogy of clothing ourselves with Christ which usually puts me in mind of the following responsive prayer that I wrote a couple of years ago using Patrick’s Breastplate and Ephesians 6. I know that I have posted this in the past but I have adapted it here so that it revolves around the garments we all wear rather than the armour of Christ that we think of when we read the passage in Ephesians. I thought that it was very appropriate to use it again here because the Celtic Christians were so good at connecting their prayers to everyday events and giving them spiritual significance.
We bind unto ourselves today the strong name of the trinity,
By invocation of the same, the Three in One and One in three.
We bind this day to us forever, by power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation;
His baptism in the Jordan River; his death on cross for my salvation;
His bursting from the spiced tomb; His riding up the heavenly way;
his coming at the day of doom; We bind unto ourselves today.
We put on this day the garments of light
We cast off the works of darkness
We clothe ourselves with Christ
Christ behind us, Christ before us,
Christ beside us, Christ to win us,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath us, Christ above us,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love us,
Christ in mouth of friend & stranger
We wrap ourselves around with the belt of truth
We strap on the shirt of righteousness
We take up the jacket of faith
We shod our feet with the gospel of peace
We place the rings of salvation on our hands
We clothe ourselves with Christ
We bind unto ourselves today, the power of God to hold and lead,
God’s eye to watch, God’s might to stay, God’s ear to harken to our need,
The wisdom of our God to teach, God’s hand to guide, and shield to ward,
The Word of God to give us speech, God’s heavenly host to be our guard.
Eternal God sheltering us
Christ before us and behind us
Holy Spirit deep within us
We clothe ourselves with your life
We bind unto ourselves today the strong name of the Trinity,
By invocation of the same, the Three in One, the One in Three.
Of whom all nature hath creation, Eternal God, Spirit, Word;
Praise to the God of our salvation, Salvation is of Christ the Lord.