Dressed to See the King

Theresa Tarn, Kindergarten Teacher and Grammar School Art Coordinator

Any student who has completed Kindergarten or 1st grade at Trinity would be able to tell you about poor, old Jonathan Bing. Here is what they would say:

Jonathan Bing by Beatrice Curtis Brown

Poor old Jonathan Bing

Went out in his carriage to visit the King,

But everyone pointed and said, “Look at that!

Jonathan Bing has forgotten his hat!”

(He’d forgotten his hat!)

Poor old Jonathan Bing

Went home and put on a new hat for the King,

But up by the palace a soldier said, “Hi!

You can’t see the King; you’ve forgotten your tie!”

(He’d forgotten his tie!)

Poor old Jonathan Bing

He put on a beautiful tie for the King

But when he arrived an Archbishop said, “Ho!

You can’t come to court in pyjamas, you know!”

Poor old Jonathan Bing

Went home and addressed a short note to the King:

If you please will excuse me

I won’t come to tea;

For home’s the best place for

All people like me! 

This is just one of many poems that are etched into the minds of our students. Oh yes, poetry is definitely a “thing” at TCS. In fact, we have a Slam of it. A portion of our school day is dedicated to poetry memorization. We work at it slowly and steadily, chipping away at each line until it rolls off the tips of our tongues without much thought. But all too often, we get caught up in the repetition of saying the lines without knowing what we are saying. Well, one day this spring, as I was reviewing this particular poem with my Kindergarten class, I had the most wonderful “ah-ha!” moment, where a silly poem led to a discussion of a powerful biblical concept.

Midway through the recitation process, I started to feel sorry for Jonathan Bing. This guy is so forgetful! He can’t seem to get it right and keeps getting sent home because he is not properly dressed. But pity was replaced with delight as I was reminded of the surety of our stance before our King. If we trust in Jesus, we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness, which is why our God will not turn us away. What a glorious truth! Not only did Jesus secure for us the forgiveness of sin, but he makes us acceptable to God by the imputation of his righteousness. In the book of Zechariah, we are given a picture of Joshua, the high priest of Israel, standing before the angel of the Lord clothed in filthy garments. Then the angel says, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” (Zech. 3:4). This is what Jesus has accomplished for those who believe. Without Christ, we are much like Jonathan Bing – poor and dismissible. But thanks be to God that, through faith, we are dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne!

It may be many years before these 5-6 year olds fully understand the biblical doctrine of justification, but my prayer is that the seeds of the gospel would be planted in their minds, along with lines of poetry. So, this summer, as we scrounge around for all the right Land’s End uniform pieces to wear on the first day of school, may we also remember to help our children put on the new self, to be clothed with the garments of salvation.