The Perfect Robe
June 10, 2023
By Dr. D. Craig Rikard
A dear elderly clergyman loaned me one of his robes for my ordination. Robes are very expensive; thus, I was thankful he cared about me enough to see that I would be ordained in proper attire. Forty-five minutes before the service I removed the robe from the garment bag and put in on. The zipper was torn the entire length of the robe. There were also tears here and there due to the fabrics age and brittleness. I then succumbed to fear of embarrassment. I would be ordained in a worn, tattered robe!
I quickly found Gail and asked her to help find any pins possible. We gathered enough to hide the tears and make the robe usable.
While sitting in the same sanctuary last week where I was ordained 45 years earlier, I watched the new ordinands kneel in their robes. It was then I began to thank God for that torn, broken robe. I was a young man, with a painful past and broken heart for my mom who wasn't there. She had recently passed at age 47. I was terrified that I had no sterling reputation of being a good, young man. And, yet, God called me.
That robe reminds me that all of us come to God as we are. We are torn, heartbroken, scarred, and feel unworthy. However, God called me as I was. I had nothing to offer but a broken heart, emotional pain, a rebellious past, and fear I couldn't possibly serve God as I was. I wore the perfect robe.
Just as I pinned and moved fabric around to make the robe useful, God would repair, heal, and make me useful for the rest of my life.
If you feel too broken, or believe you carry too much pain to serve God, stop, take a breath, and think. Beneath all the "disqualifiers" is your beautiful soul of eternal worth. It is a soul not yet complete, but God knows its sacred purpose. Answer God where you are, as you are. God in Christ will clothe you in forgiveness, hope, and purpose for the rest of your life.
Dr. D. Craig Rikard is a retired South Georgia pastor.