I read two brief articles (here and here) this morning that the band Arcade Fire is making it mandatory for concert goers to wear “formal attire or a costume” to their shows. You can go on their twitter page (@arcadefire) and see some pictures of recent shows of concert goers in their formal attire and costumes. While the statement and articles mention that the formal attire and costumes are mandatory- I haven’t seen what happens if you show up at the concert without a tie and jacket.
There is a parable in Matthew 22 that Jesus tells. It’s a parable of a wedding banquet. Not quite a concert- but both were communal celebrations. In the parable, an invitation goes out to the banquet and no one shows up. In verse 8- the king tells his servants to “go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.” And they did this until the banquet hall was full.
The king went around to see his guest until he came upon a guest that was no properly dressed for the wedding banquet. Anyone, including peasants, would know to wear the proper attire to a wedding banquet. To show up without the proper attire was disrespectful towards the king-who was already slighted by the guest who ignored the first invitation. The king then had the ill-dressed guest bound up and thrown out into the darkness.
If the king is God, and the wedding banquet our life (eternal) with God- then we can say that many are invited to participate in God’s Kingdom, in the God-life. As we see in the first set of invitations, some reject the invitation to participate. Likewise, God continues to extend the invitation to participate in the God-life- reaching out to those that others might find undesirable.
We must come prepared, dressed in the “right” attire. That attire is Christ. In Galatians 3:26-29, Paul writes:
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
When we cloth ourselves with Christ, it doesn’t matter whether we are Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male or female- we become heirs to eternal life with God. We are welcome at the wedding banquet.
The next time you hear an Arcade Fire song, or see a story about their “dress code” for their shows, remember that our dress code, our attire is Christ Jesus. That we are to take off the old self; our sinful nature and practices and put on Jesus.