It used to be that Halloween was the one day a year that we got to dress up in elaborate costumes. However, that has changed in recent years. Dressing up in costumes is now a hobby in its own right. It is called cosplay, and it is popular enough that national craft stores will often have dedicated cosplay displays. Cosplay hobbyists will often create their own costumes from scratch. Cosplayers spend hours crafting the perfect costume that captures the most meticulous details of what they are crafting. Cosplayers make costumes for big pop-culture icons like Marvel superheroes, Star Wars characters, and Disney princesses. Cosplayers also make elaborate costumes for secondary characters from obscure anime franchises. Cosplayers also show a lot of creativity when they do mashups such as a Klingon Jedi or steampunk ghostbusters. The costumes are often spectacular, but that is because they are big investments in both time and money. On average a cosplayer can expect to spend one to two months and between $100 and $200 on their costume. Of course more elaborate ones can see the time and cost quickly sky rocket. Despite the investment, cosplay continues to grow in popularity. Cosplay is a major expression of love and passion. As such, I believe that cosplay has lessons to teach about discipleship.
In Galatians 3:26-27 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.” The phrase “to be clothed in Christ” appears a couple places in the New Testament. I always thought that this was a bit odd, and an honestly, a little creepy sounding. However, the hobby of cosplay really helps me understand this a bit better. The cosplay hobbyists invest hundreds of hours and dollars into making elaborate costumes because of their great love of their subject material. Often cosplayers will meticulously study not just the details but the mannerisms of their subject so they can emulate the character perfectly in pictures and videos. They put in a lot of time and energy so that for a brief moment they truly can become the character they love. Cosplay is one of the ultimate expressions of fandom. Cosplay allows fans to take what they are passionate about and then actually become that thing. That does not mean the guy running around a comic convention in a Batman suit thinks he is Batman. However, when he strikes that perfect pose for that perfect photo then in that frozen moment that cosplayer has become the physical embodiment of what they love.
In the same way, if we are baptized and claim that Jesus is our Lord and Savior, then that means we allow our faith to influence how we act and who we understand ourselves to be. We are no longer simply who we are, but we are more Christ like. We clothe ourselves in Christ by seeking to emulate Jesus in our words, thoughts, and actions. When we get this right like a cosplayer, then someone else can truly experience Jesus through us. Cosplayers seek to be their favorite characters out of a great love and passion. Likewise, as Christians we should seek to be like Jesus out of a great passion and a great love for our savior.
No matter what Halloween costume you go with this year, may you first and foremost clothe yourself with Christ. May you invest your time and resources in trying to be as Christ like as possible. May you be so authentically Christ like that when others interact with you, they experience the love Jesus made known through you.