I brought this up once before, either here at Marshall Art’s or on someone else’s blog. I don’t remember which and after several glasses of wine and a fine repast I’m not up for searching it out (not that I’d be up for it in any case). But the topic here is proper attire for church.

Call it a pet peave, but there’s just something about jeans and t-shirts that seems something less than reverent in the setting of a Sunday service. The usual defense of this practice is that God loves us just the way we are, or some such nonsense. First of all, I don’t believe that for a second. He loves us, that’s for sure, but not necessarily the way we are. I mean, what’s so good about any one of us that any one of us should take that attitude? Seems kinda prideful to me and that’s not a good thing, either.

A variation of that is that as long as we go to church, that’s the main thing. I don’t buy that either. The Parable of the Wedding Banquet ends with the king in the story throwing out the guy not wearing wedding garments. Now despite the spiritual moral of the story, all the parables of Christ dealt with real world situations and applications. None of the parables involved things that did not also have practical “real world” value. This parable speaks of the man entering the wedding on his own terms which was insulting to the king. Seems to me that it is insulting to wear less than one’s best to attend a worship service.

That is, insulting to God. Imagine actually going to a wedding wearing whatever you pulled out of the hamper. Would that not be insulting? Did not the bride and groom (whichever invited you) simply want you to attend? You went, that’s the main thing, right? Of course not. Few would dare attend a wedding dressed in everyday clothes (unless one’s everyday required a suit). How does anyone figure a jealous God would be cool with that same person then showing up on Sunday like he’s off to clean the stables?

The whole thing here, is not really even a matter of what God might think of dressing down for service. My concern is in the thinking of the person that thinks shorts and sandles is appropriate for attending a worship service for the Supreme Being in Who’s hands resides that person’s eternity. Is He not important enough that looking one’s best is worth the trouble? “Ah, it’s only God. He loves me no matter what!” We know that God loves each and every one of us. That love, however, isn’t a free pass. How much does one really love and revere the Lord if one can’t muster up the effort to put on a tie, or, for women, to wear a dress?

There is one person I know who dresses very casually every Sunday. One Sunday was an exception. This person was dressed more formally than usual and my first impression was that something awaits this person after service that the person felt required the better clothes. Sure enough, I heard someone ask this person about the sartorial upgrade and the answer given was as I anticipated. I wanted to ask this person why this event after service was more deserving than service of such fine attire. I wish I had the courage to ask that question. But I didn’t. (Such courage if fodder for another article.)

For my own part, I only recently resumed wearing a suit and tie. During my layoff I was unable to maintain my wardrobe as I preferred it to be. The last interview for which I needed a suit was January of ’09 and I wasn’t happy with the fit. In addition, that was the last shirt that I could button at the neck and it was quite snug. I hoped that the interviewers weren’t scrutinizing my clothes too closely. As I moved into the trucking field, suits for interviews were actually discouraged. I was told to dress like a trucker. But I didn’t dress like a trucker for church. I wore slacks, dress shoes and the best shirt I had in the closet. And that’s the point. For God I wore the best I had.

Now, I’ve been able to get my suits re-tailored and I have a few shirts that fit, so I’m back to my preferred Sharp Dressed Man status. A more handsome man would be hard to find. (A quick hint to those whiners who think neckties are uncomfortable: buy a shirt that fits. If the shirt fits around the neck, you shouldn’t even notice the tie until you look down or in the mirror, at which point you’ll say to yourself, “You look marvelous!”)

I am not worthy to be in God’s presence. I’m not worthy to be in His house. That I am invited does not change that. The only thing that makes me worthy is me and how I relate to my God. There is nothing I can do (beyond accepting Christ) to win His favor, but that doesn’t mean I need do nothing. He is deserving of my best and that includes how I dress. I do it to glorify Him. I do it because He’s worth it. I do it because I care about how I present myself to Him for worship.