The Merchants of London (It’s a Jungle Out There)

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Greetings My Dear Friends of the Fellowship of the Blog,

A few days ago, a friend sent me this most unusual picture.  It was not only thoroughly surprising and delightful; it also struck me as so rich in Scriptural application that I’m using it as the theme of today’s Christian Mother Goose blog.

The story behind this contented blend of tigress and piglets brings together the plight of two vastly unrelated creatures.

First, the mother tigress had lost her litter of prematurely born cubs.  Following this, she fell into a deep grieving depression, and was failing to thrive, although she was quite healthy otherwise.  Her zookeepers tried to locate some orphaned cubs to ease her loss, but none were to be found.

As a last resort, in an effort to save the tigress, the zookeepers and veterinarians found six little orphaned piglets to present to her in an unusual fashion.  But, it was asked, “Will she accept them as “Cubs” or more likely Pork Chops?”  And, I might add, do they give new meaning to that English dish, “pig-in-a-blanket?”  Well…you can readily see the happy answer to the whole dilemma.  The piglets were clothed in tiger skin, which was the key to the “mother’s heart” of the tigress.

And, although the sight of piglets parading as tiger cubs looks hilarious to us, nevertheless, those piglets are really enjoying life.  They are comfortable and happy, knowing they are perfectly accepted, nurtured and protected by a loving mother.  Yet, behind this touching story is the fact that a life was given for those skins that made the piglets acceptable to a creature far different from them in appearance and ability.

And therein lies the theme of today’s blog: “certain clothing and acceptance.”

Today, clothing and fashion are a multi-billion dollar business.  Not only that, clothing also carries with it society’s tall ladder of position, social standing, acceptance, a red flag of one’s fashion sense (or lack of it), and even a mark of wealth.  All from the “fine feathers that make fine birds.”

All this (and more) came to mind this week as I chuckled while reading the history of the migration downward, and then back up again, of old woolen clothes in London.  It also explained a mystery to me of why my mother was sure to keep any worn-out woolen clothes in a special place in our attic.  “They’re valuable,” she would say.  I knew that the “wool man” came twice a year and paid for our collection, as well as our neighbor’s.”  But I didn’t know why he would pay for old, cast-off wool clothes.  Now I know.

Like “unfolding years” (a quote from blog reader Ole Bean), just follow your old wool overcoat, or perhaps blog reader Timothy’s wool sweater, to the wool-man’s market. He sells them to a “clobberer” (a master renovator), who can add a few more seasons to your old wool cast-offs before selling them to his clientele. (You’ll notice we are traveling downward on the clothing ladder.)  Now, down a different rung of the restoration ladder to the “translator”…where your overcoat and sweater now re-appear as skirts, vests, hats, etc., from his clever hands.

Ah, with just a few more seasons’ wear left, we are now at the bottom of the clothing ladder.  Right down to the rags of the poorest of the poor, who have worn your originals down to what is now called in the industry, “devil’s dust” – meaning no more wear-ability left at all.  This sad-sack of wool rag dust is eagerly bought by dealers who sell it to the woolen mills.  There, mixed with new wool, the “devil’s dust” re-appears as new cloth, ready for the latest  fashions.

Presto chango!  We are ready to climb the clothing-status ladder again!  But would it make a difference if, at the top of the ladder, adorned in our best garments, we discovered that some unfortunate ragamuffin’s “devil’s dust” – right out of Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” urchins – was also sitting up there with us?  (This sounds like a “rags to rich stitches” story, indeed!)

I must confess I even laughed out loud at that thought – then cheered the wonderful insight of Isaiah when he wrote in chapter 64:6 “….all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags….” (even if they look gorgeous to us!)

But Isaiah also knew the wonderful answer to the plight of our earthling “rags and devil’s dust” when he wrote, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the robe of righteousness….” (Isaiah 61:10)  He wrote these words seven centuries before The Lord Jesus Christ – the Living Robe of Righteousness – came into this needy world.

It was The Lord Jesus, the One Who was far above us in beauty, holiness and power Who gave His life to pay for our sins, then clothed each believer in HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, “…to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein HE hath made us accepted in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6)  Accepted by God!  Freely!  With Jesus proudly leading us as highly favored children into His Father’s presence.

Believers who walk in the Righteous clothing of Christ are the greatest manifestation of His glory, love and salvation on this earth.  Therefore, (emulating the “Merchants of London”), may I suggest that we wear our garments of praise more frequently so that we may recognize each other more readily.

And in finishing, the fashion trends of this world’s clothing come and go like the wind; but the clothing of Christ’s Righteousness is eternal, and it never goes out of fashion!  “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today and for ever.”  (Hebrews 13:8)

Cheerio, for now, highly favored ones!

P.S. Can any of you wordsmiths out there suggest a good name for piglet-tigers?

Christian Mother Goose®

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