Sunday, October 17, 2010

How we come to church?

I admire the way Kenyans honor God on Sunday. Despite that a typical Kenyan family exists as subsistence farmers, walks 3-5 miles to church down a muddy dirt road, resides in a house with a dirt floor, cooks over smoky charcoal, and washes their clothes in a bucket; that very family will come to church wearing their Sunday best. It is remarkable. I don't know how they do it. Meredith manages to dirty up her dress and color her arms with pink marker just between our hospital and our walk to church.

The Kenyan men and boys wear suits, ties, vests, and dark shoes nicely polished. The Kenyan women and girls adorn themselves with their most beautiful dresses (well ironed), high-heeled shoes, jewelry, and hair neatly kept. I wonder if this is a way they are giving God their "first fruits" as discussed in Nehemiah 10. It may not be much but I wonder if coming in your "Sunday Best" is an offering to God? Is this their first crop, their new wine, their finest oils, their best grain, their purest ground meal.

When we were back in the States we came to church on "show your knees Sunday" where you were encouraged to wear shorts. Casual is in. Formal is not. "Come as you are" is the norm. Overdressing to church is almost more awkward than underdressing.

Have times changed? This is a picture of me and my siblings circa 1981. Yes, I am confidently wearing a bow tie and a Big-bird vest. Maybe this is Easter Sunday...I can't remember. But I know at that moment we came dressed to church...as if this was really important...as if something special was going to happen...and someone amazing would be in our presence.

What do you think? Is it church dress regional? Is church dress denominational? Have we become more casual? Does it still matter "how" we come to church?

4 comments:

Laffing Dawg said...

I love the challenge, the thought, and of course the pic. The vest and tie especially. I tend to agree. We should offer our best when we get ready to join our church community to worship our Lord - who gives us nothing but His best. I see casual dress at church as part of the dumbing down process that I see happening all over and is something I truly don't like. Jesus is our Standard and we need to rise up to meet Him. God isn't the Big Guy in the Sky - He is our Father God, Our Creator and we should respect Him inside and out. I think of a couple in my church who literally have nothing and no money. Their "dress-up" clothes are a nice sweatshirt and nice pants. They always show up with these clothes nicely pressed and clean and look like they have put all they can into looking nice. That is exactly what we need to do. I believe in Sunday shoes and clothes even if it is the same thing every Sunday. Come dressed to sit in the company of The King . Come as you are on the inside and come respectful in your attire. My other pet peeve is young men who wear their ball caps and never take them off when they come into the sanctuary. I won't go there but oh please......

Thanks again for the time spent with this thoughtful challenge. It sounds like that Sunday experience really had an impact on you and Sara and rightfully so.

Kathy in Bend

Anonymous said...

Malin, When did you get an authoritative Bible like your brother? And is your sister herding you into photo position? I always appreciate how respectfully your family prepares for church and meeting God. It is important, Dad

Anonymous said...

Where did you find the picture of those darling and handsome kids!!!
I made the Big Bird vests. You and Darin had matching ones. It wasn't that many years ago that I wore pants to church on Sunday morning for the first time, thinking that your grammie would rise from her grave to shake her finger at me. It often seems that our dress does affect our attitudes, but I would rather see people in casual dress, shorts and flip flops, on Sunday than not there at all. You know in Central Oregon they say that dressing up is wearing pearls with your sweat suit. Dad is right. Love, Mom

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