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sackclothAbout 14 years ago i owned the following clothing –

  • 3 pairs of jogging pants – plain and dark in colour
  • 3 skirts
  • 4 tee-shirts
  • 2 plain sweaters
  • 1 hoodie
  • 1 coat
  • 1 scarf
  • 1 pair of gloves
  • 5 pairs of dark sock for work
  • 3 pairs of white socks
  • uniform – which was provided

I called it my sackcloth and ashes phase.

In Old Testament times people would clothe themselves with sackcloth and ashes for two reason; in the case of death or due to repentance. In Esther, we read about Mordecai who rent his clothes and put on sackcloth when he learnt that the Jews were under threat of dead from King Xerxes. The people of Ninevah also put on sackcloth and laid in ashes as a sign of repentance when they were called to do so by Jonah. Sackcloth was made from coarse goat hair and was said to be very uncomfortable to wear.

I did not view my sackcloth and ashes phase as either a time of grieving or repentance, but a time of letting go of the world and the clothes i wore at that time, i did so, to cover my nakedness. The only reason i had skirts was because i needed to wear one for church – it wasn’t a case of ‘you can’t come in without one’ but more a case of what was expected.

Today i own many pretty things, probably far more than i need and every time i get dressed i am grateful for everything that i own. It is not so much what we own, or what we wear, but where our hearts are. It is knowing that all things come from God and we should be generous not only with our excess, we should also live lightly in the world.