Coats, Towels, and Linen

They led the donkey and colt out, laid some of their clothes on them, and Jesus mounted.

Nearly all the people in the crowd threw their garments down on the road, giving him a royal welcome.
~Matthew 21:7-8

Ordinary Folks in Jesus’ time did not have a closet full of clothes.

Cloth was precious.

You either made it yourself  or you purchased it by barter or coin. Often clothing was passed down from generation to generation. Mended when torn. Worn parts were cut out.  Good pieces were re-purposed and reused.
Memories and stories embed themselves into cloth.
It is said that Jesus’ tunic was woven by his mother…a master weaver.
The Psalmist declares (Psalm 139) that God “hems me in” and “knits me together in my mother’s womb”.
We are precious.
We are also fragile.
Without a coat, or cloak, or shirt you are vulnerable to the cold, the rain, the wind, and the sun.
Our second creation story speaks of God clothing us as we left the garden. (Genesis 3:21)
As we ventured out into the world, eyes wide open knowing good and evil, God clothed us to protect us from the pain and suffering that we would encounter in our lives. 
This gift of clothing reveals God’s compassionate and steadfast love.
We are knit together, hemmed in, and protected by Love!
And Love is about to show us what love looks like.
Jesus has arrived at the Mount of Olives and clothing and palm leaves are being strewn on the ground.

This act of removing their garments and throwing them on the ground is a symbolic act of trust that the one who they have given their clothes to will take care of them.

Trust that Jesus will save them.
Crowds went ahead and crowds followed, all of them calling out, “Hosanna to David’s son!”
“Blessed is he who comes in God’s name!” “Hosanna in highest heaven!”
~Matthew 21:9
But as the week progresses this trust begins to break down. Is He the One, is this the Way that He will save us?
Where are the angel armies? Where are the war horses? What is He doing turning things upside down?
One by one we begin to turn away. We pick up our garments and put them back in our closets.
This Way is too hard. Opening our hearts is too painful. Forgiving others is too costly.
Remember John the Baptists answer to the Crowds when asked how “How do we bear fruit worthy of repentance?” John replied “Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none, and whoever has food must do likewise.” (Luke 3:10-11)

What does it look like to give your coat to another?

This act of sacrifice and act of trust gets lost in our worldview of the abundance of things….how many coats are in your closet?

On Maundy Thursday Jesus will take a towel and a basin of water and show us what love does. He will wash and dry our feet. “Love”, he declares,  “Love God and love each other. This is the Way.”
On Good Friday after Jesus breathes his last breath, He will be lovingly wrapped in linen and laid in a tomb.


As Jesus approaches Jerusalem ordinary fabric becomes precious and symbolic.

As we move toward the cross this Holy week cloth, coats, towels, and white linen wrappings take on new meaning.

What happens to the garments that Jesus sat on and covered the ground that He passed over?
What about that towel?
And that linen cloth?

What happens to our trust in God’s saving grace as the week moves along?

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