Look for the best wardrobe

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So, we are halfway through Lent. How’s it going for you? I am always vulnerable to becoming a bit demoralised at this point. Either because good intentions have not been realised or not even started! There is great danger that we can tie ourselves up in knots. This quote, from a little book called ‘Rule for a new brother’ is helpful.

“Spiritual life is life drawn from the Holy Spirit, who raised Jesus from the dead, and turns the whole world into a new creation. The Spirit within you will bear fruit of simplicity and goodness, modesty and joy, sobriety and gentleness. He will give you interior freedom, and bring your love to perfection. He will make you into a new person.


“So don't carry on a futile battle against yourself, don't divide yourself into good and evil, resist the temptation to analyse yourself - turn you attention to the Lord instead and be deeply attentive. Accept yourself in His light and concentrate on the mission you have to accomplish.


“God's Spirit will bring you to simplicity in an undivided dedication to Him and to your fellow-creatures. He gives you no programme but the chance of turning yourself towards love hour by hour.  And so spiritual life is not a burden but a liberating vocation. It is much more a matter of simplifying than of complicated methods and extraordinary performances.”

(Rule for a new Brother.  Looy, H. van der, Forward by Henri NouwenDLT 1973, 1986)

When I first heard it, the middle paragraph was a great encouragement. It is rather like buying clothes, something I do not enjoy. There is always the worry whether something won’t fit, or be right on the day. Am I able to take it back? All those things… and then for some there is the concern that is this the right trend or indicates the right social group?

Paul writes in Colossians about another wardrobe – a wardrobe that is perfect. These clothes always fit and never wear out.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.


“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

(Colossians 3: 12-17)

So, I encourage myself and you to pause, and imagine a society built on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. A society where there is tolerance of each other and mutual forgiveness. A society where overall there is the love and peace of Christ. Be encouraged!

Nigel Rawlinson

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