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Casual Dress in Church
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Remember when everyone wore their Sunday best to church? Women wore nice dresses with hats and white gloves, while men wore a suit and tie, with polished leather shoes. If you look around your church today, you’re more likely to find some people dressed in jeans and flip flops, or shorts, a t-shirt, and dirty tennis shoes.
There seems to be two popular opinions about the role of casual dress in the church. Those on the more conservative side say that dressing up for church in nice clothes makes the Sabbath day more special. When you look your best, you feel more reverent, and may be more likely to participate in the service instead of chit-chatting, or dreaming about what you are going to do when church is over.
The Bible doesn’t specify how one should dress for church, but Psalm 24:3-4 tells us how God desires us to come before Him. “Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? And who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” It’s important to remember that Jesus also wore sandals or what some might refer to as “flip flops.”
On the more liberal side of the casual dress in church issue are those who believe that God doesn’t care how we dress, but is more interested in our hearts. Many people would not attend church services if they had to dress up, so is it better to just advertise a “come as you are” service instead of having people stay home? Many churches have a contemporary service where casual dress is encouraged, the music is more rock n roll oriented, and a more laid back sermon is often preached.
I have been in a contemporary service where the level of reverence seemed very low. Some people were too busy grabbing donuts and coffee to make it on time to the service, so the door was continually opening and closing with the stragglers coming in. There was a lot of talking at times, and it was disruptive to others trying to hear the service. Small children that were restless were allowed to burn off that nervous energy by running around at the back of the room, often crying or shrieking.
Where do you stand on the subject of casual dress in church? Do you feel like casual dress affects your attitude toward God?
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