God never promised that every day would be Sunday nor that even the best among us would always feel like doing what we were created to do on the Sabbath. Some Sundays, getting dressed is my only motivation to go to church. During the depths of my disillusionment with the church, only a newly acquired outfit stood between Bedside Baptist and a place of collective worship. Not proud of that fact, but at least it got me to the house of the Lord.
There are some people whose gift it is to reveal that if nothing else is working right in the world, it is the ensemble they have pulled together. Every church has at least one sister or brother who worships God with sartorial splendor. I ain’t mad at them either. Everybody brings something to the party.
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? (Matthew 6:28-30).
God wants God’s people to look good and especially good for His sake. Tradition holds that believers began putting on their best on Sundays in honor of the angels who were present at the empty tomb after Jesus’ resurrection. They have been described in some translations of Luke 24:6 as wearing dazzling clothes. What better occasion to look your best than when meeting God incarnate face-to-face?
That is what Sunday mornings represent. Yes, God is present everywhere at all times. But the assembly of the saints for the purpose of hearing what thus sayeth the Lord is a personal presentation. Jesus himself encourages us to keep up our appearances.
When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (Matthew 6:16-18).
Blessed are those who can keep it together no matter what they are going through. One of the most memorable pictures in American history is of Jacqueline Kennedy mourning at her husband’s funeral. Even in her grief, she was giving it up with the same elegance she became known for exhibiting.
Does this mean that less aesthetically-endowed are not welcome in the house? Heavens no! The point is, no matter what you have, bring your best. As with all gifts, some have been blessed with more than others. Just as those who preach like prophets and sing like angels assure my soul of God’s presence, fashionistas reveal something too. And if that’s what it takes to get some folk’s attention. So be it.