Are you correctly dressed for the occasion? August 2015 Magazine

The F1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton was barred from entering the Royal Box during the Wimbledon tennis final. The reason was that he was not wearing a jacket, tie and proper shoes.

Hamilton had received an invitation to watch the men’s singles final from the Royal Box. But, due to an “unfortunate misunderstanding regarding the dress code” he missed the match between Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. Although the F1 driver was honoured to have been invited to sit in the Royal Box, he never entered. Hamilton arrived dressed in a purple floral shirt and chinos. Was it a ridiculous decision by an official, or correct to keep to the set standards irrespective of who turns up? The debate continues.

Jesus told a story of a king organizing a wedding banquet for his son. He sent out messengers with invitations for his guest list. As with today, people were slow to respond and the uptake was rather poorer than had been expected. Many even mistreated the messengers. The king was angry and retribution followed. A second wave of invitations was then sent out and the banqueting hall was filled. Jesus’ story ends with a shock: ‘but, when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. “Friend,” he asked, “how did you get in here without wedding clothes?” The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, “tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” For many are called, but few are chosen’ (Matthew 22v11-14).

The story is not about a wardrobe malfunction. It’s about how unworthy people can sit and eat with the majestic son. Jesus’ story is about having fellowship with him in his Kingdom. The profound point is that the guests can only enter the wedding banquet on God’s terms, not on our own. We cannot ‘pull rank,’ or argue that we are ‘a special case.’ The basis on which we can enter is by grace, relying on his gift of forgiveness that we do not deserve. Jesus alone can provide us with the right clothing. His righteousness is exchanged for my sinfulness.  Are you correctly dressed for the occasion?

Let’s marvel at this wonderful truth that undergirds Christian faith!

Paul Kingman

Christ Church Magazine, August 2015