Most people the world over are familiar with the famous Snow White mantra: “Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all.” But what if the mantra went a little different and instead asked: “Mirror mirror on the wall, do you see Christ in me at all?” What would our answers as Christian women be?
This was one of the questions asked during a women’s brunch hosted at Midrand Congregation in Johannesburg, South Africa on 24 October 2015. The question was linked to the theme of the morning’s presentation which focused on our spiritual wardrobe.
Presenter, Beverley MacDonald explored the concepts of a spiritual wardrobe in relation to the wardrobe of the bride of Christ. Quoting from Revelations 19:7, she said: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.” And while biblically, the bride of Christ is both male and female, she said because the morning’s focus was on the women of the church, it was important for us to understand what our spiritual wardrobes should look like and if we are prepared for the return of the Lord.
“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewellery or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to adorn themselves…” reads 1 Peter 3: 3-5. This said Beverley is an indication that we should not be concerned with our physical appearances and that we are being called to clothe ourselves in a different way – a spiritual way.
Beverley reminded us of Proverbs 7: 2-3, linking it to our spiritual wardrobe: “Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.” She added another bible verse to help us: “But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
She said it was important for us to dress ourselves with these spiritual accessories, as these accessories made up our spiritual wardrobe. She then highlighted the fact that love is the greatest of the spiritual gifts, and asked the ladies present if they are able to love like God love us. As disciples of Jesus, we should espouse Christ-like values, she added.
“We have an example in Jesus Christ. He exemplified God to us in everything he did. Even if he corrected people, he did it with love. Jesus did a lot of wonderful things, but at the same time he empowered others, and so in following Jesus’ example, we must also show compassion in our dealings with others. In the bible, compassion and love is more than a feeling, there must be an appropriate action linked to that feeling, there must be an outward act of kindness.”
We have a calling to be like Jesus, continued Beverley, quoting Ephesians 4: 1-3, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace.” She added that we might say ‘I know all of this already, but I just can’t do it’, to which she answered: “Give your life to God and you will be blessed with eternal life, always remember that we are working towards an eternal goal. Surrender yourself to God and always ask God to guide you.”
During the course of the morning, Beverley was also joined by Charmaine van Dijk and Nadia van Aswegen who assisted her with the musical items. Petro Garcia also presented on laughter yoga/therapy which she described as “natural medicine” for the body and soul as it lifts our spirits and makes us feel happy. Using laughter, this “natural medicine” promotes overall health and wellness to help relieve physical or emotional stresses or discomfort. She provided a few practical examples and encouraged the ladies to always find something good about every day, write it down and keep it in a jar.
The brunch, which had six hostesses, each decorating their table with a theme of their choice was the brainchild of Midrand Congregation’s rector, Shepherd Lance Smith who wanted to show his gratitude for all that the women of the congregation do. With that in mind, after the morning’s presentations, it was up to the brothers of Midrand Congregation to prepare and serve the food and help clean-up once the morning’s festivities had concluded. Everyone present agreed that it was a successful event, one that was much needed; and one that should become an annual feature on the Midrand Congregation calendar.
* By Rivonia Naidu-Hoffmeester