Some people dress up for church to honor God; others dress up to impress people. I, however, dress casually, sometimes to an extreme. This isn’t because I’m lazy or rebellious; this is my way to honor God.
One Sunday morning many years ago, I stood at the church sanctuary entrance, wearing a blue pin-striped suit and a bold silk tie. My job was to pass out bulletins and seat people. My goal was to make eye contact, give them my best smile, and say “Hi.” I took this job most seriously.
In walked a visitor. College-aged, he wore torn jeans, t-shirt, and tennis shoes. He carried a wide smile. We made eye contact. When he saw a friendly face, his smile brightened; he headed towards me. Then he glanced at what I was wearing, and his pace slowed. He looked left and then right. Seeing no one else dressed like him, he made an abrupt U-turn and left.
I should have followed him. I should have assured him his clothes didn’t matter. I should have invited him back and offered to sit with him. I didn’t. Instead, I felt duty-bound to remain at my post.
That was the last Sunday I dressed up for church. If my attire challenges conventions, I’d prefer offending those in my community, not those outside it. May my clothes never again be an obstacle for a visitor feeling comfortable in church or a faith seeker encountering God.
I never again dressed up for church. And I do it to honor God.
[From Peter’s upcoming book, God, I Don’t Want to Go to Church.]