v 39 So Peter returned with them; and as soon as he arrived, they took him to the upstairs room. The room was filled with widows who were weeping and showing him the coats and other clothes Dorcas had made for them.
Dorcas was clearly a gifted and hard-working needlewoman. She used her gifts to bless others and was obviously appreciated by her friends. Such a skilled needleworker was far more than just a clothes maker; her gifts brought joy and blessings to those around her. That is one of the features of the gifts that God gives; the work done brings beauty and pleasure to the lives of others. Did you notice v 10 in yesterday’s reading which also mentioned needlecraft: ‘the beautifully stitched garments—the sacred garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments for his sons to wear as they minister as priests. ‘ Some of you may come up with a wry smile at this point as you recall some of the splendid vestments worn by ministers in churches of other denominations. It is a very old tradition however for worship leaders to wear elaborate and beautifully stitched clothing!
Suffice to say that beautiful, colourful clothing should not be the preserve of flamboyant models. Whatever your feelings might be about dresswear, with overtones of showing off and self-promotion, perhaps there is a place for ‘finery’ – provided you heed the warning of 1 Peter 3:3-4, ‘ Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewellery, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.‘