So, last week felt like an incredibly momentous one for me. Having put it off for an incredibly long time, what with saving money for Christmas presents, and generally just not being particularly extravagant with my money, I finally went for the investment and bought myself this, FatFace's infamous Georgina Gilet. In Grey. A Grey Georgina Gilet. My heart literally melts. A wonderful friend of mine, Helen, had come down for the evening, and was taking me on a 'hot date' after work, allowing me to choose what we did, and I chose to shop. And shop I did.
If I'm honest, there's more to this than having just bought a new piece of clothing - it was more like taking a new step: a step of newness out of an old situation that needed leaving behind. A step of newness into an independence where I can decide where my 'treat' money goes. A step of newness out of that limiting thinking that to be warm you need to have sleeves. (And oh! How very wrong that thinking is!) It was like not only was I purchasing an item of clothing that would put me up there in trendiness with the Helen Jenkins, Debbie Gliddons, Charlotte Martins and Katie McCraws of this world (some stylish high-flyers there), but it was like the start of a new season of me.
'Me and my Gilet (and yes, in a way it does require the capitalising...) can take on the world!', I was thinking to myself - in the way I always think about my bike when it's got new brake pads, or my hair when it's been properly straightened. It was glorious, and along with Tina (my new little car), it felt there was nothing I couldn't acheive, if only I could decide what it was I wanted to do. This may be a little exaggeration, but you see my point. Gilet idolatry. Gilet symbollism. Gilet significance.
Then on Sunday (don't worry, if you can feel a twist to this tale, you would be right, but be assured that NO HARM has come to the Gilet. In fact, I am wearing it right now because my attic bedroom is an *ice-box*), at church, good old Stevey-J spoke about being Rooted in the Cross (which once I've uploaded onto the website tomorrow, will be on this link here. Listen, it's strong stuff.). He spoke about the significance of what Jesus did on the cross. He spoke about how his death and resurrection reconciled us with God, made us 'at one' with Him, having paid off the moral debt our backlog of, and our future, wrong-doings creates that keeps us separate from Him. He spoke about how it makes us Righteous in God's sight - as if we'd never sinned, accepted into relationship with God, and continually transformed to be like Him. Yeah - me, righteous? I know...but you too. He spoke about just how much God loves us, that the ransom he would pay to give us freedom from our sins was for him to humble himself from Heaven and be like us, and to die a humilating death so that we don't have to offer sacrifices every time we mess up - and never be able to get on with living. He spoke about how this shows that God is both completely just, because sin has been punished, just as he said it must be; but completely merciful, because He covered all that cost himself. And how there is nothing that we can do that will make God love us any more, or any less, than he infinitely already does - regardless of what our self-worth or our pride might tell us. Noooothing. It is fixed in complete, loyal, rock-steady unconditionality.
And having considered all that, and gone back to the basics of what the cross is about, and what salvation is - the transforming power of The Gilet pales into insignificance when I consider what the cross changes and marks. It allows that every day is a new start, free from the things that have held me back. It allows that I know that I am fully, 100% loved and accepted, despite in all other respects being fully, 100% single. And it allows that I can have a daily relationship with the most perfect and mighty being in all of time and space -because I'm made righteous by an action I never deserved.
So, my dearest darling Gilet, I love you with passion that few other items of clothing will ever receive - however, when it comes to taking on the world with a new attitude, it's my Jesus that's going to be coming with me. I mean, you can totally come too, obviously, I've gotta stay warm, but Jesus will be doing the butt-kicking, not you. I hope that's ok.
To finish, I leave you with a video that's been doing the rounds this week that is just so great - a guy poeming about the difference between religion and relationship. I love this way of putting it across, it's a winner for me.
Until next time, ciao :)