Imagine with me… you have stepped back centuries and are walking upon the Irish ocean shoreline. The wind is lifting and pulling your hair, the smell of salt water hangs in the air. The white crests of the in coming waves slap on the shoreline before you and occasionally catch up and playfully tag your bare feet.
Then a crescendo-ing roar is heard as a sneaker wave drives into the beach before you. Counting your blessings that you weren’t caught in its unwanted embrace.
Suddenly you stop. Your mind no longer idle. Your eyes no longer seeking ships on the horizon or the lapping waves fighting to join you on your jaunt. Before you lies… a body.
You race forward but you don’t have to get too close to see that the man is lifeless and has been in the water for days. His features are… indistinguishable.
With you walk interrupted you slide back to wait knowing you are ill equipped to carry the man alone. Standing nearby you guard him until the tide turns and begins to roll out then you quickly head to the village lying beyond the dunes to get help.
No one recognizes his features but they know WHOSE he is. How?
Centuries ago they didn’t carry ids or dog tags… ahhh but here in Ireland they had their own ways. Here each clan, each family, had a unique knitting pattern they used. Not to be repeated by any other clan. It didn’t represent a country or village but a surname: Kelly, Martin, Callahan etc., And while a sea man’s shipwrecked body could be laid low and made unrecognizable that sweater knitted by a grandmother, wife or sister was almost impossible to rend. It held onto the body and the stitches continued to house the heart gone heavenward.
The other clans knew that stitch, that family and sent word ahead to let the leader of the clan know they were bringing one of their own home.
Now I didn’t walk the Irish moors and beaches 200 years ago but I have looked at pages and pages of clan knitting patterns and sweaters. It is amazing to me the beautiful, time-staking labor that was gone through to create a garment to set themselves apart. To identify themselves. The pride. The witness. The importance and value of this woolen sheath.
It’ll take 40 hours to make but then it will represent generations of heritage. A heritage linked back to a father’s father and forward.
To me it’s not to different for us as believers. Clothed in His righteousness I will arrive on death shores bruised and beaten by this world. There may be little resemblance of the 10 year old girl that gave her heart to Christ. Disease may have devoured my body. Life and time may have mared my features. BUT let it be known I was still out and about my father’s business when the wave came that called me home and when my body banks on the shores of eternity… my Father will recognize the garment of grace and righteousness that identifies me with Him. And all those who see this form will know WHOSE I am.
So until then may I bear and wear His glory, this garment of grace in such a way that others might turn and look to Him even as they carry this shell to its rest.
But ‘When I arrive home don’t mourn for me
because I know in Whom I have believed.
Crimson is the thread that held me in life
and it will carry me in death to my Kinsman Redeemer’s side.’
And all God’s people said, “Amen.”
“My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness…”