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Acts of Mercy: Clothe the Naked

Genesis 3:21 tells a remarkable story. Adam and Eve have just sinned by eating the fruit God forbade them to eat. Their sin has led to a separation from their first relationship with God and exile from their first home, Eden. But God sends them from Eden with gracious mercy. God protected them with clothes. Nakedness has become a sign of dependance.

John Milton in the tenth book of Paradise Lost reflects on how the one who clothed our first parents in the Garden will disrobe himself at the Last Supper to serve humanity. In his infancy, Jesus assumes the nakedness and dependance of a baby. As his passion begins, he removes his robe to wash his disciples’ feet, only to be stripped completely naked for the salvation of us all.

Sensitivity to the dependence of others requires us to not only clothe the naked, but to also be sensitive to the shame associated with the quality of their clothing. This is as true for adults as it can be for young people. Clothing is not only a covering for nakedness, but also a sign of dignity.

While very few of our neighbors walk the streets literally naked, we often see them inadequately dressed, in too few layers or unseasonably thin garments. With many of our closets and dressers overflowing, we can offer clothing for those who have much less. We’ll gather gently used items for children (we’re told boys' items are especially welcome right now) for the clients of Wellspring Sunday, March 3.

Dear God, I am grateful for the clothing that covers my nakedness. Help me be mindful of those who do not share these luxuries. Help me see ways I can help provide this same dignity for my neighbors. Amen.

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