Poor Nicodemus. Perhaps he was the one who arrived at the Rabbi’s meeting late? Did he lose out on the pulling of straws? Maybe he wanted to speak to Jesus privately for himself? Whatever the reason, he seeks out Jesus under cover of darkness and has a truly strange conversation. Of course when listening to God and to Jesus it is rare that there is ever a straight or an easy answer. The answers often involve some form of sacrifice or questioning of our actions, our own prejudices and desires more closely. Why is it that we act the way we do. We are a strange species as humans. The ability to make rational or moral decisions is not without its disadvantages
For the devil of course wearing Prada is beginning to turn out very well indeed. Andrea is still not able to fit in the office. She is running herself ragged attempting to keep up with the world she is not used to and requests she doesn’t really understand. So it was that like Nicodemus seeking out Jesus, Andrea seeks out a little council with Nigel the art director. Unwilling to be dragged down into a world she is unaware of, a bit like Job, she begins a lengthy complaint. Nigel, not totally unsympathetic, tells her to wake up and see the world as it really is.
Does forty days of fasting help us to see the world more clearly? To help us to over come desires and to see beyond what is in front of our eyes? Did such a period of time in the wilderness have that effect on Jesus? To let go any delusions of being great or first and then really see what is real and true. Let go of the ego and to focus on the other. Andrea lets go of her inhibitions about fashion and allows Nigel to help her focus on Dolché choo Ralph Nancy Gonzalez Channel Mark Jacobs Clinique and so on. A transformation has taken place from curtain material skirt convention to catwalk model in one afternoon’s rapid makeover.
Andrea meets Nate after work dressed to impress, he barely recognises her in the transformation. So begins the lessons in fashion from Nigel, each day a different outfit, make up and shoes. But as Jesus says: Flesh is flesh and Spirit is spirit. One is not the other. Dressing a cut above the rest as it were is not necessarily changing Andrea’s nature. Fasting will not necessarily make any difference to our inner life. Not eating meat or giving up alcohol is unlikely to bring us closer to God.
Changing the outward appearance is relatively straight forward with the right help and fashion accessories. Changing what is inside is a different matter entirely. However, slowly but surely Andrea’s inner life is as transformed as much as her outward. Even fellow fashion designers and writers warn that she can never survive Miranda, but she shrugs these comments off as her new found confidence gives her a spring in her step.
The devil wants to be loved, worshiped and obeyed, Andrea changes her clothes and fashion and attitudes out of a desire to be appreciated in her work, to be liked by Miranda – therein of course lay her downfall.
Jesus offers unconditional love and more importantly which is implied by the term ‘unconditional’ expects nothing in return. However it is up to us what we do with the gift. Do we keep it to ourselves? Or do we give it away?