Cover 2016-04-10

Ron Writes

Proper Clothing in Worship

Fans of the movie, “My Cousin Vinny,” will remember the judge not liking what Vinny is wearing. Vinny’s New York style offends the small town Alabama judge. Vinny is a fish out of water in this north meets south clash. A funny sequence of events leads Vinny into wearing a ridiculous suit from a second hand store that looks like it was once worn by a banker from the 1800’s. The judge thinks Vinny is now mocking him. Wearing what everyone feels is proper in worship can be as frustrating as Vinny trying to please the judge.

As a child “growing up in the church” we always had to wear our “Sunday best.” Some still think that nothing less than a suit and tie or your finest dress is the only proper attire for church. On the other hand, others will point to Jesus’ warnings about dressing in an ostentatious way (Mt. 6:1f; 23:5) or to the apostles warning against dressing in a way that calls attention to yourself (1 Tim. 2:9f; 1 Pet. 3:3f). There are regions and churches that reflect these varying views. For instance, folks tend to dress differently for church in The South than they do here in the Northwest. In some regions and churches dressing one way or another would make you stand out. That would be just as true here. It’s important that we reflect our community while maintaining the dignity of Christ.

One of our members tells of inviting a co-worker to church. His friend said that he didn’t have any “church clothes.” Our member assured him that it didn’t matter what you wore, church folks didn’t dress up, he should just come. He says he remembers his friend drive in and begin to get out of his car, and then he saw that our member was wearing a suit. His friend then got back into his car and drove away. That was the last time that member wore a suit.

There will always be those who claim that it doesn’t matter what you wear, and for the most part that’s probably true. Here are a few things you might consider. Clothing does make a statement. Judah didn’t recognize his daughter-in-law, Tamar, because she was dressed like a harlot (Gen. 38; cf. Prov. 7:10). Clothing can be a distraction. The previous eldership used to request that I asked everyone not to wear shorts. For some, shorts are still distracting. Our clothing shouldn’t make us stand out.

What is proper clothing for worship? That might be a question we won’t be able to agree upon, but what we all will agree on is that it’s essential that we wear Christ. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ” (Gal. 3:27). Whatever we wear should reflect our love for God and our concern for others