There are a few things that even the closest of friends will not readily share. Toothbrushes are the first things to come to mind. But somewhere on the list for most people is underwear, particularly unwashed underwear.
There are no human words to describe God's love and so the best God can do to communicate with us is metaphors like the love of a mother for a child, the eagle circling her brood.
In the first reading today, God uses one of the strangest of metaphors, underwear. Yes, it sounds somehow holier when we say loincloth but the function is the same. The piece of clothing that touches your most intimidate parts. In trying to explain to Jeremiah what the relationship is supposed to be, God uses a loincloth.
For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man’s loins, so had I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the LORD; to be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty
It isn't a particularly attractive image, the notion that we are God's underwear, but there is something to be said for the earthiness of it. After all what piece of clothing is more personal, intimate? What piece of clothing knows the parts you do not want the world to see? —The messy parts.
The sad part of the story is that God made us to cling to him like that loincloth, and yet as he tells Jeremiah,
But they did not listen
God reminds us today that not only does he know the most intimidate recesses of our hearts, but he has given us also access to the most intimate parts of him. We are meant not to be the hat, shirt, belt or sandals. God has called us to the deepest most personal, most intimate relationship possible. It is offered as free gift.
Today, say yes. Let us open our ears and listen. Let us open our hearts to receive.