In the name of earning money I had to do something the other day that I never thought I’d do… sing a Take That song. I remember being at school when Take That split up. The girls were crying, me and my friend were celebrating. Kids can be cruel…

Anyway, the other day I found myself singing ‘Back for Good’ at the top of my voice. But I learned something that day – Take That are more profound than I thought.

The final bridge of the chorus goes like this:

Soon we’ll be together
This time its forever
We’ll be fighting
And together we will be
So complete in our love
We will never be uncovered again

It’s that last line that caught my eye.

Gary Barlow is dealing with a typical topic in songs – the break up of a relationship. It’s all gone wrong. And how does that make him feel? Like he’s naked. Uncovered. Exposed.

That’s a theme you find throughout the Bible.

When Adam and Eve’s relationship breaks down they both feel exposed, so they hastily stitch some fig leaves together to try and get some covering back.

I’m sure you’ve felt the same thing.
When someone you loved has walked away, don’t you get that feeling of shame? Of foolishness? Like everyone’s looking at you?

Gary Barlow believes the answer to this uncovering is restored relationship. The result of which will be that they never need fear being exposed again.

In part he’s right.

It’s interesting that after God has pronounced judgement on Adam and Eve, the next thing he does is give them clothes (Genesis 3:21). God is in the business of covering up our shame, of restoring relationships.

Of course a bit of cloth is never going to do the job. It’s not long before God’s people are again described as being exposed. They try to cover themselves, and hide from God, but it doesn’t work. As they sell themselves to idols, to false gods, they act like prostitutes, actually uncovering themselves again. God pronounces judgement that they will indeed be exposed. Relationship once more breaks down.

But this doesn’t mean God has abandoned his plan to make a covering for his people. He describes Israel in her uncovering and says that he will clothe her again.

Ezekiel 16:8
“‘Later I passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign LORD, and you became mine.’”

God is about the business of restoring relationships.

Up until this point Gary Barlow’s story and God’s story are similar. Both recognise there is a problem in relationships that have broken down. Both describe this as being exposed, uncovered. Both see the need for restored relationships.

But here the stories go their separate ways.

Gary Barlow believes that restored relationship is possible with this woman, and that he can promise that they will never feel exposed again. I can guarantee that that didn’t happen. No matter what we promise, no matter how hard we try, even the best relationship is not immune from that feeling of exposure that seems to permeate all relationships.

We need something else.

And that’s where God gives an answer that surprises. For us to be freed from that exposure Jesus had to be exposed for us. For us to be clothed, Jesus had to be stripped naked.

On the cross Jesus suffers uncovering in a way that because of what he did we will never have to suffer. He is exposed to the gaze of people and more horrifically to the gaze of God the Father as he takes on all the shame and guilt of our broken relationships.

To be under the gaze of God will all that guilt is not a good place to be. Yet he suffers that so that we can be clothed.

Listen to Revelation 7

“After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:

‘Salvation belongs to our God,
who sits on the throne,
and to the Lamb’…

“Then one of the elders asked me, ‘These in white robes – who are they and where did they come from?’ I answered, ‘Sir, you know’. And he said, ‘these are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’.”

Gary Barlow is on the right lines. His desire to be clothed is a right one. His desire for relationships to be restored is a good one. And God promises that we will ‘never be uncovered again’.

But the only clothes that will last that long are those washed in the blood of the Lamb. It is only by his death, where he became naked, exposed and suffering God’s wrath that we can have relationships restored and receive a covering that means we need have no fear of ever being exposed.

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