Several weeks ago I was in a program that our church women's organization put on the Ten Virgins. I played one of the foolish virgins and sang a song about trying to find time to fill my lamp with oil when I had so much to do everyday, kids to tend, cleaning to do, duties to perform. (I didn't understand that at all ... she said sarcastically.)
I wrote the post "grief breathing" after the practice. It moved me in ways I didn't expect. It really made me think about being prepared for the Bridegroom's coming.
The next Sunday after that practice I started getting ready for church much earlier than usual. We have afternoon church so I had lots of time. As I bathed and shaved and scrubbed I thought about preparing for the Bridegroom.
Now if you ask my mother, she will verify that I am not that girl who spends much time on her appearance. :) Sorry Mom. I don't generally iron things. I like getting pedicures but only paint nails if my kids beg. Generally I get ready in 20 minutes (that includes a shower) and I am out the door. On Sundays I wear 3 minutes worth of make up that I put on in the car on the way to the chapel.
But this day, I began thinking about how I primped and prepared for my wedding day. That day I wanted my appearance to be perfect. I didn't want any skin to be dry or rough. I wanted perfect makeup and smooth legs. I wanted my dress to be perfectly fitted, clean, and lovely.
Now here I was about to go to a sacred chapel and make covenants with the Lord. I was going to take the Saviors name and covenant to obey and follow Him. Was not this truly following the Lord's symbol of the Church being the Bride and the Savior the Bridegroom? Here I was preparing to go make these sacred promises that in some ways seemed so similar to those I made at my wedding. I was symbolically going to meet with the Bridegroom.
My scrubbing and primping took on a new feel. I washed my fingernails and used a pumice stone on my feet. Out of the bath, I lathed up in my favorite lotion. I did my hair, applied makeup, and I even ... wait for it ... painted my toenails.
Then I selected my outfit. I wanted something modest and lovely that wouldn't draw attention. I wasn't not dressing to get compliments from the other women at church. (Honestly that is the more honest answer of why I would formerly have done any of this kind of prep work.) But today I was picking an outfit I thought would show the Lord my respect for him and how special it was to me to make these covenants. And so I pick white linen A line skirt and a soft lavender tailored shirt with a few dressy details like satin covered buttons and a very small ruffle around the high neckline.
There were a few wrinkles I normally wouldn't have bothered about but I was preparing for the Bridegroom, and so I got out the iron. I took the time and effort to press the wrinkles out of my clothes and look my best ... my Sunday best.
I have not gone to this extent every Sunday since. In all reality, the Lord will accept us in church no matter how we come. It is most important that we are there, not what we wear. But I have often thought of this experience I had that Sunday as I have gotten ready the Sundays since. It is good to remember where I am going and who I am going to "meet." It gives more purpose and meaning to putting on my Sunday best.