By Rev. Tony Marciano
I love wearing suits. I enjoy wearing them with a crisp white shirt. Let me tell you about the suit.
There is only one kind of suit I wear. It must be a dark suit. Not just a plain dark suit, it must have pinstripes. No, I’m not talking about a “zoot suit” with wide white stripes on a dark suit. They must be narrow pinstripes. I always feel like a million bucks.
When I first came to Charlotte, I had a white sports jacket. I wore it in October and got snarky comments from people who said, “Doesn’t he know that you don’t wear white after Labor Day?” I am so very scared to get another comment like that, so I haven’t worn that jacket in over 20 years.
I didn’t know what a seersucker suit was until I came to the South. The first time I saw one, Andy Griffith was wearing it on the TV show “Matlock.” I couldn’t understand why you would wear it.
Fast forward, I am a member of the Charlotte Rotary Club. The first Tuesday after Memorial Day, all the attorneys in the club wear a seersucker suit. There is a sea of them. The president invites all the members wearing one to stand up. It’s awesome.
Fast forward one more time, I’m at the Charlotte Rotary Club the Tuesday after Mother’s Day. One of the club members is wearing a “red” seersucker suit instead of a blue one. I had never seen one of those before. I was intrigued and went up to my friend and razzed him saying, “I thought you couldn’t wear a seersucker suit before Memorial Day.” I felt good that I was being obedient to the rules of suits in the South.
He looked at me and said, “No, you can wear a seersucker suit right after Mother’s Day.” I was confused. I thought I knew the rules. When can you start wearing a seersucker suit?
I’ve learned that rules are a safe place to hide behind. As long as you know the rules, you can look really good. But what if the rules change? Or, what if the rules go away? Whoa, that’s a really scary place to live.
What are the rules of being a Christ follower? When my daughter turned 14, the youth minister in our church gave her a list of 200 things she could or could not do as a Christian. If she stayed true to the list, God would love her (sarcasm intended).
Today, as a young adult, Maria and I laugh about that list. The youth minister was well intended but missed the mark. Yes, the rules are a safe place to hide behind, but it doesn’t move us to a relationship with God.
What are the rules of being a Christ follower? Jesus said, “If you love me, you’ll obey my commandments.” I started to wonder, “What are his commandments? Was the list the youth director gave my daughter the same list Jesus gave us?” There is a shorter list. It contains just two things.
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
I can remember that. Executing them, well, I come up short every day. In spite of my failures, He still loves me.
Back to seersucker suits. Someone please tell me if I can wear them after Mother’s Day or do I have to wait until Memorial Day?
I’ll be back soon. Until then, live well my friend.
Rev. Tony Marciano is the president/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission.