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The Recorder - Faith Matters: What are you wearing today?



(Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email religion@recorder.com)

What are you wearing today? How do you plan for what you will wear each day?

Many of us have changed our clothing habits and choices during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic. What we wear can influence or reflect our attitude. I move much slower and calmer when I’m in my pajamas than when I dress to go to work.

Some people have been spending much of their time at home in yoga pants, pajamas, or hoodies. They may be choosing clothes simply for comfort. Maybe those clothes are changed only once a day, as an unconscious expression of control over just one small thing in a time of unknowns.

Others are donning the uniforms of essential personnel, uniforms originally designed to make these workers easily identifiable or to offer protections. Now these uniforms include new safety measures to protect not just them from this deadly disease, but anyone they come in contact with. They are changing these new parts of their uniforms many times throughout each day.

Many faiths use clothing traditions or practices to express the sacred in their lives. Head coverings of all kinds are common. Robes or ceremonial attire are also very common. Jewelry or icons may be worn. These are all examples of ways to remind us of God, of the sacred, of our protection and love through faith.

For those of us who are Christians, we often practice “putting on the armor of God” as described in Ephesians 6:13-17: “Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” The example used was that of a Roman soldier’s uniform, the uniform of authority at the time, to encourage Christians, still today, to clothe ourselves in God’s word and promises. This clothing is used as both an armor of protection and as weapons to fight an enemy.

Sound like something we’re all doing now?

I am a chaplain at Farren Care Center. My responsibility is to assist and respond to spiritual needs of the residents, families and staff here. I do that through my own faith and my own practices, while honoring the faith and practices of the people I serve. I start with putting on my own spiritual clothing each day, then continue to the next part of Ephesians 6:18-20: “praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”

My uniform is that of a health care worker in these uncertain times including mask, goggles and gloves, all the while caring for others with compassion and love. The added pieces of my uniform are not just PPE (personal protection equipment), but also those from God’s word, carefully and prayerfully put on daily to protect myself and also the people in my care.

Our clothing choices are important. At times, they provide comfort; at times, authority; at times, protection. How are you clothing yourself today?

Farren Care Center had humble beginnings as a hospital started by the Sisters of Providence in 1900. It was transformed into a long-term-care facility in 1990, continuing with the mission of its founders. Today, it is home to over 100 people, cared for by skilled and compassionate staff.

Chaplain Sue Lahoski took her CPE (Clinical Pastoral Education) and internship training at Baystate Medical Center. She now worships at Valley Life Assembly of God church, having had numerous leadership positions at various churches including worship team/choir, Sunday School teacher, board of directors, Alpha ministry, and short term missionary. She sings with the Eventide chorus and is a member of the Interfaith Council of Franklin County.



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