DayBreaks for 9/01/17: What to Wear to Church
From the DayBreaks archive, 8/2007:
I’ve been part of several churches during my lifetime. As a kid, I grew up in the Midwest (Iowa, to be precise), with the typical mid-western mindset about church and what constituted proper attire. Even though we lived in rural Iowa and the little church we attended in Jefferson was populated mostly by relatively poor farmers, on Sunday you could count on them being decked out in their “Sunday best.” They weren’t doing this as a means of impressing other attendees with their wealth or sartorial sagacity, but they did it out of a deep sense of reverence and respect for the God that we worshipped. Their reasoning, as I now understand it, was along this line: “We should give God our very best in everything – including in how we come to worship Him. It shows Him respect.” I can appreciate that a great deal.
I’ve also attended churches that were very laid back in their dress code. Personally, I prefer it that way. Come Sunday mornings I’m in a polo shirt and Dockers as I stand in the pulpit – except on very rare occasions. Why? Because I prefer it that way. I hate ties and shirts and suits…to me they seem too full of pretentiousness and preening. But, if I’m honest, it’s because I really prefer to be comfortable when I worship God. Is that good? I think so, but then again, I’m not so sure. There’s still a bit of the mid-western upbringing in me. But I also know that if I dressed in my finest, that even then, with my spiritual raggedness, I’ve got nothing to impress God with. Nor should I try to impress Him, I think.
So what should we wear when we go to church? For an entirely different take on it, read on:
“Why do we people in churches seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute? …
“On the whole, I do not find Christians, outside of the catacombs, sufficiently sensible of conditions. Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we so blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it? The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning.
“It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets. Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping God may wake someday and take offense, or the waking God may draw us out to where we can never return.” – Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk
Wouldn’t it be interesting to pass out crash helmets at worship services? What could be more appropriate if we really believed that God shows up on Sunday…and if we didn’t reign Him in with our human ideas of orderliness and restraint? I think that I’d much rather have God on the loose than tied down. We’re the ones who would need to be tied down if we let Him be on the loose in our churches…for He is an awesome God.
PRAYER: God, Your Word says that You never sleep nor slumber, but I can’t help but wondering if our apathy and comfortableness with You sometimes causes sleep to fill not only our eyes, but Yours, too. We ask You to be fully alive to us in our hearts, our homes and our churches that You can be glorified in our midst! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>