Dress for God’s House

You shall reverence my sanctuary (Leviticus 26:2).

I grew up on the mission field attending a church with backless mud benches, a cement floor, and a tin roof. The worshipers arrived each Sunday decked out in their very best attire. One day I was amused to observe a lady proudly wearing a bra over top of her clothing. (Bras were unheard of in that village, so I assume she was showing off her new purchase from the village market.)

I’ve listened to the debate between the old and the young regarding what is acceptable attire for church. My mother believed we should wear our best on Sunday morning in the sanctuary to show honor to God. My children think that God doesn’t really care what we wear.

I say both are correct—or both are wrong.

If I dress up in order to impress people, then I’m a hypocrite if I claim I’m doing it for God. In my African village, the American tradition of wearing a new Easter outfit was unheard of, but at the day-long Christmas service every single person in attendance had to have new clothes–for show I surmise. If we proclaim that we must give God our best on Sunday mornings, then why don’t we show up in tuxedos and formal gowns? (My mother did not have an answer for that one.) I wonder sometimes, however, if coming to church in sloppy or casual clothing results in sloppy or casual worship. On the other hand, if I arrive feeling comfortable in my clothing, I’m not distracted by hurting feet in high heels.

How much does culture weigh into this discussion? If I attend a church where the norm is more formal, it is appropriate to honor that culture. If casual is acceptable, then you might feel out of place showing up in a suit coat. In either case, we are admonished not to judge each other over our attire.

Does God really care what I wear to church? I doubt it. I think He’s more interested in my heart.

What do you think?


2 thoughts on “Dress for God’s House

  1. Coming from the same era as you, I have had my conflicts on what is acceptable. However, I have come to the place you have that I believe God is far more interested in my heart. It seems to be others who care more and might even judge us in our wardrobe. When I go back to some of the churches I used to attend, knowing their views on the matter, I have felt somewhat intimidated, but it is my issue not theirs. I should not care what they think or feel, and truth be told, they probably aren’t even making those judgmental thoughts. Well meaning people have pushed those ideas upon us and most are in Heaven now and have no doubt learned that it was not a hill to die on.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, great topic. I’d have to say I’m better with casual than I used to be. I guess we were taught that dressing up was a way of showing respect. I would like to think that casual dress, by all, would bring more people in, but I have not seen that to be the case. Most of us here have nice clothes, but choose not to wear them to church.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s