And the Priest Wore White…
On Yom Kippur, the High Priest takes off his fancy clothes, bathes and dons plain white garments. He comes before the L-rd in a humble state. He has prepared his heart by studying Torah the week before and by staying up all night reading G-d’s holy words.
In his plain clothes, he is equal to everyone else, other than his position as intermediary. He is the only one who can go into the Most Holy Place, yet he does not go in with his finery. No jewels. No colors. No fancy cloth. Only white linen…dressed as an ordinary priest.
Israel is called to be a kingdom of priests to the world. Followers and disciples of Yeshua are also called to be priests to the world. Who is our High Priest? Yeshua. So, how should we dress when we come into the presence of the L-rd? Should we dress in fine clothes, the kind that attract the eyes of others? Or should we come in humble garments, recognizing that only He deserves the real finery? Are we dressing to please man? Or to please our heavenly Abba/Father?
I have heard it said that we dress up to come into the presence of a King. That is true. But we should never dress in a way that upstages the King. Just as the guests never dress in a way to take away from the beauty of the bride. But these are the traditions of men. What does Hashem want? What does He teach us?
I think we have a lot to learn from the priests. While their clothing was distinctive, it was also fairly plain. Only the High Priest dressed in the fancy clothes with the jeweled breastplate and gold on his head (at least according to one Jewish site on the temple). And then, only when he was NOT in the presence of our G-d. The rest of the priests wore basic, plain white clothing.
If we are going to compare coming to the synagogue or church building to coming before the L-rd in His temple, how should we come? We are not the High Priest. All the pictures I see depict many priests in fine colored clothing. But is that accurate? And even if it is, the High Priest does not wear them in the presence of G-d.
I think he (and all the other priests) models something for us. He bathes. He prepares his heart. He spends time in the word and in prayer. He puts on plain white garments.
How do we prepare to come before our L-rd? How should we? Could it be that this is an example for us? Could it be that we should bathe our bodies, prepare our hearts and then dress in clean, but simple clothing? Perhaps not white necessarily, but perhaps pale colors that do not attract attention? Should we leave the jewelry at home?
Yeshua chastised certain leaders for lengthening their fringes and increasing the size of their phylacteries. We Gentiles do not typically wear those things. But what is comparable? They did it for attention and show. Are we also dressing for attention and show?
Don’t get me wrong. Our Creator made things beautiful with lots of color and I am certainly not saying we should not dress in colorful ways that are pleasing to the eye. I am only addressing the times when we come into His presence…whether through private worship or corporate worship.
These are just my musings. I do not pretend to know the answer. I only put this out for consideration and I welcome the thoughts of others. For whom are we dressing? And what is it that Abba actually prefers? What most honors Him?
There is a saying: He must increase and I must decrease. What most reflects that idea? We are told by our Master, Yeshua, that we need to be servants, especially those who want to lead. Again, what most reflects that idea?