Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The minister's dress

I must confess: I do not wear dresses. However, I do dress in clothing and the clothing I choose reflects the culture in which I serve as a pastor. In the Northern Neck, people dress casually (think: beach clothes). It took several years for me to stop wearing the sport coats and leather shoes of my days in Oxford, UK and shift to casual button-down shirts with shorts and flip-flops. On Sundays, until this year, I always wore a robe, but after Memorial Day, my associate pastor and I decided to dress more casually.

For the most part, the congregants who say something like us in our civvies. It makes them feel better when they show up to worship dressed down. There are still people who wear dresses and suits, but they do not seem to mind the more casual worship. After Labor Day, we will return to wearing robes in worship, just as the choir will.

Then, I received the following email:
Thanks so much for the way you were dressed for XXXX's [funeral] service this afternoon.  You looked so "well dressed" and I kept thinking how nice it would be if you dressed like that when you lead a worship at Kilmarnock Baptist.  Last week when I was there, I felt very embarrassed for our church family because of the way you were dressed.
Give it a try!

Here is my reply:
Dear XXXX,
Thank you for the compliment. Regarding the insult, if the only thing you got out of worship last week was what the pastor was wearing, you missed the point. The worship was about God's light, sharing that light, and being unified in that light.
Have a blessed day,
Luke 11:9

Why do we attend worship? Does it matter what we wear, whether we are clergy or laity?