Recently I had the special opportunity of visiting with friends out of town, out of state. Being there over a Sunday, we attended their church together. It’s a denomination I’m familiar with and comfortable to be in so was looking forward to the experience. We planned on attending the adult
Sunday School class as well as the worship service.
Prior to the Sunday School class, there was about 15 minutes of what I would call ‘a filler’. Usually the pastor covers this period by explaining the background or the meaning behind a particular hymn. Interesting enough. However, the pastor was on vacation so another leader of the church stepped in. He proceeded to describe the different parts of the church building. Ok, so far. While labeling the entry or gathering place, the “vestibule” and telling of the difference between the “vestibule” and the “narthex”, he explained that immediately outside the sanctuary, the narthex was set to give one a more calming, peaceful, reverent attitude prior to entering the sanctuary. I’m not quoting verbatim but you get the gist. He went on to say that we should then enter the sanctuary with a reverent, respectful attitude and that is why . . . “we don’t wear shorts to church.” Yep! That’s what he said. Guess who – in my pew – was wearing shorts. Yep again. Me. Well, actually capris, but close enough – to his point. I wished I could be under the pew.
I never heard another word.
As we mingled between services, I casually yet stealthily searched for others sharing my dress code. Nope. Just me. Unless one was under ten years of age. Not only was I alone in my particular attire, but I was surrounded in a forest of mostly jackets and ties, dresses and heels.
Feeling the need, I must explain that I wasn’t dressed sloppily or raggedly or, in my opinion, in poor taste. I do admit though, had I known in advance what I would face, or at least hear, I would have dressed more appropriately so as to blend in and be respectful of the culture at hand. I’m not a rebel rouser. Well, not any more. I was a product of the 60’s after all. 🙂
I think, I hope this gentleman didn’t realize what he said, or at least that he was alone in his point of view. I thought about it all afternoon. I delved into what the Bible says about dress code in church, to no avail. I have followed so many debates in church circles about whether the church is for the seeker or the believer. You know what I came up with? WE are the church! I am the church. I, as a Believer in Christ, am always representing Him, whenever, wherever, in the office, the grocery store, the park, or at church. I don’t want to look different on Sundays.
Stay with me now. I was raised to dress up for church, to pay respect to God, I suppose. I don’t disagree but times have changed; culture has changed. My church meets in a school; some churches meet in a store front or on the beach. The first churches in the Bible met in homes. Looking neat and put-together is always important, in any circles. But it’s a tough topic: change with the times or stay as we were taught. I don’t have the answer but I try to adjust to a rapidly changing world by staying close to my God. He knows what I look like on the inside and that’s most important.
“Do not adorn yourselves outwardly by braiding your hair, and by wearing gold ornaments or fine clothing; rather, let your adornment be the inner self with the lasting beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in God’s sight.” I Peter 3:3,4