Colossians 3:1-17, John 11:25, Philippians 3:12-16, Romans 6:1-14
Every Sunday I put on a white robe called an alb (it looks about as funny as it sounds). It’s what most priests wear during worship. My close friends give me a hard time when they see me in it, mostly because it is unlike anything else I wear. I prefer flannel and jeans, or a hoodie and shorts, but on Sundays, I put on my alb. I don’t look cool in it. I wear it because it reminds me and everyone else of a profound truth: Christians are a people who have put on Christ. We have been clothed in a “new self” (Colossians 3:9-10). This is why people often wear white when they are baptized as well. We adorn ourselves in white garments because we are (and bear with me, guys) pure and holy as a bride awaiting the groom (Ephesians 5:27).
What Paul writes in this part of the letter to the Church at Colossae is about the life that is birthed when we are made new in Christ. Paul says, “so if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above” (Colossians 3:2). This raising is a mystery whereby we are buried with Christ and raised with Him in His resurrection. By God’s grace, we take off the old garments that defined us before we were dead and buried, and replace them with new garments in our resurrection (Galatians 3:27).
In Christ, we are a different kind of people. “Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too may walk in a new way of life” (Romans 6:4). We put off those things which defined us before we met Christ, and replace them with compassion, humility, meekness, patience, forgiveness, and above all, love (Colossians 3:12-14). God moves us from death to life.
On baptism days we have a tradition in my church that Christians have practiced for centuries. Since I already look ridiculous in my alb, it makes no difference if I also carry a “priest broom.” (I know this sounds strange. Just listen.) After we baptize those who have come to the waters, I get to place my broom in the water and sling it into the crowd of people. It hits them in their faces, it gets on their clothes, it ruins their hair— it gets everywhere. But I say to them, “Remember your baptism.” Likewise, I say to you now, “Remember yours.”
Remember that you have been raised with Christ; you have put off the old self and have been clothed in righteousness. So now, in everything you do, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father.
written by Father Aaron Wright