Clothes and the Bible

In my haphazard and geeky study of all things clothes-related, I have often found a crossover with one of my other haphazardly geeky interests: the Bible.

As I have said before, I love to read the Bible. I like to read it especially for some of the weirder things that I find as I read, because as someone who, at least in her mind is an observational comedian, it stokes fun conversations with God.

There are dozens of verses: prescriptions about what women should and shouldn’t wear (thanks, Paul), down to how they should and shouldn’t wear their hair. (Apparently insane wigs were involved.)

Stories about how clothes put a wedge between family members when a father decided he loved on son more and to prove it gave him an expensive coat.

There is the discussion of what the Levites should wear when they minister in the temple, which is in painful detail, and honestly, sounds kinda tacky.

There is this one fascinating detail about something Jesus wore: a seamless tunic–which for the textile fan, is very very exciting. The text mentions it is woven, but how do weave a seamless tunic? I only know how to knit seamlessly: either a top down raglan or a bottom up raglan. Did his mama knit it for him? When she gave it to him did he complain that it was scratchy the way my boys complain about my knits?

Then there are the metaphors: the turban of justice, the breastplate of righteousness…

There are people thrown out of parties for not being correctly dressed. There is the whole theme of wearing white (and being spotless and wrinkle-free.)

There is the tantalizing reference to Lydia, who apparently distributed purple fabric to Bible-era Joann’s Stores.

There is Tabitha, the seamstress, who must have been a jaw-droppingly prolific sewist–she dressed all the widows of Joppa. She must have been so amazing a couturière that after she died, the ladies did a fashion show in her memory when Peter arrived for her funeral. She was so generous with her talents, that God saw fit to bring her back to life. Talk about the power of a good outfit!

These stories are distributed throughout, but the very very first one happens just as Adam and Eve are getting kicked out of the Garden of Eden. God sacrifices the first animals and makes them garments from the skins.

Now, my Bible actually uses the word “garments” which to me, means more than a loincloth. This means there were seams and there was some sewing involved. God actually sewed some clothes. Can you imagine? It boggles my mind to imagine God with a needle and thread making something for his two first humans to wear. And yet…isn’t that exactly what he would have had to do?

I am not a Bible scholar, will never pretend to be. But all of these references, and the many many more that are in, prove to me one simple thing: God cares about what we wear and he isn’t embarrassed to get involved in the details of it. Fashion is not a topic he just skillfully ignores (like other topics which I would love to read about in the Bible and always come up emptyhanded.)

He cares so much that he even tells us that he will dress us better than the lilies of the field. Better than Solomon, the richest, wisest man ever.

That’s one of those promises that is stuck like glue to my heart. I hope you find a promise like that, too.

Published by Lily Fields

I am passionate about contentment. This is a challenge, because I am equally passionate about progress. I get up at 4:00AM to chip away at a solution to this monolithic problem: how to make progress on my contentment. Born and raised in the USA, I married a French philosophy teacher in 1999. We have lived in France since 2007. We stayed young and carefree until life threw us two curveballs in the form of little humans one after another in 2015 and 2017 respectively. Now I am a slightly older, slightly more exhausted version of myself, but with mystery stains on my walls and a never-ending pile of laundry.

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