November 6, 2020
Compassion and Fashion

Rev. Beverly Markham
As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Colossians 3:12-25
This passage conjures imagery of wearing a certain type of clothing. Our garments are the first things others see when they see us. They say a lot about who we are and how we live. During this election season, some in our society are proud of their political red or blue. Others, a good third of our country, choose neither of those colors. I invite you to imagine that in our church, we wear the color purple.

Earlier this week, some of us proudly voted blue and some of us proudly voted red, and some of us probably stayed home, but we come together as a church community and our colors blend to make purple. This is not always easy in a time when cooperation across political lines and listening to another’s argument so that we might all learn and grow are out of fashion.

Maybe it’s not easy, but it is such good work to be part of a community like ours. The gift of the APC community is that though we choose to put on the red or blue of our political affiliation, we know these candidates and political parties who are dominant right now are temporary and are not the ultimate power. We hold a higher allegiance to Christ, who is the ultimate power, and whose teachings form who we are and how we live together in this world. So, “we clothe ourselves in compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience. (We) bear with one another.”

During this hard week, many politicians and media outlets have encouraged us to hunker down with our like-minded parties and to discredit anyone who disagrees, but when we connect to Christ’s love that dwells in
us richly and we remember that we are all one body and that we are called to “clothe ourselves in love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony,” we discover that intentional separation based on political affiliation is a sin. And we remember that we, followers of the one who is the ultimate power, are called to a higher purpose of loving our neighbors, and embracing the expansive, compassionate heart of Jesus.
God of all people and all nations, shed your grace on America, teach us how to mend our wounds and how to love one another. We give you thanks for this complicated and wonderful home we share – from sea to shining sea. Amen.
Alpharetta Presbyterian Church
180 Academy Street, Alpharetta, GA 30009