When our dress is white, we have to be careful not to be stained with dirt.
Symbolically, angels’ clothes are white, representing they are pure and ethereal. They are the messengers to this world. Visiting this world, however, their garments are rarely, or never stained.
When Mary Magdalene visited the empty tomb after the Resurrection of Jesus, she met two angels with white clothes. This color implies that they are not of this world.
But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.John 20:11-14
This white is λευκός (leukos) in Greek. It is so brilliant and dazzling. It was the same whiteness when Jesus transfigured himself; his clothing was exceedingly white.
And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.Mark 9:2-3
The Transfiguration represents the moment when the eternity has manifested itself in our temporary world. Such eternity is beyond our comprehension. It’s too shining and dazzling to keep our eyes opened. We can scarcely describe it as white color – the totality of all light waves and particles.
Because of this, Angels’ clothes never get stained even amid muddy water. With the worldly gravity, they can float and fly.
Angels can fly because they can take themselves lightly.G.K. Chesterton
On the contrary, our white garments quickly get stained. And we can never fly as we take ourselves so heavily. We love and hate ourselves and others too much. All those dirty spots of our words, actions, and minds, keep soiling our clothes.
The Bible keeps telling us we are lower than angels. It is a qualitative, ontological gap. In this regard, the Atonement of Jesus is indeed the truth that He made himself lower than angels to experience our sufferings.
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.Hebrews 2:9
Angels’ clothes remind us of the symbolism of the lotus flower in the muddy water. Traditionally, Eastern religions and thoughts admire the lotus flower in the same reason. For example, Bhagavad Gita tells us as follows:
One who performs his duty without attachment, surrendering the results unto the Supreme Lord, is unaffected by sinful action, as the lotus is untouched by water.Bhagavad Gita
The words of this Confucian thinkers, Zhou Dunyi are well-known.
I love the lotus because while growing from mud, it is unstained.Zhou Dunyi
We also know the statue of Buddha is always seated at the lotus flower, which represents the purity of the body, speech, and mind, detaching from the muddy waters of material, physical desire.
Image by ykaiavu