to have Courage....In Family Life, In Spirituality, In Health, In Living Simply

I'm on a journey...... as we all are. Learning, remembering, re-discovering about health, spirituality, relationships, emotions and the mind.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Visiting the Sovereign

I grew up in the church, from the first Sunday mom and I got out of the hospital.  (Well, one of my brothers who is 3+ years my senior, thought mom had gone down to the big Dairyland distribution centre not far from our house and picked me up from there!)

Anyways, we were taught to always wear our best clothes to church, and for us girls that always meant we had to wear a pretty dress.  Slacks were not permissible for church attendance, although they were acceptable the rest of the week.

I did this while growing up and living under my parents' roof.   Along with many other things, I did it without agreeing with them but out of what I thought was 'honoring thy father and thy mother'. It turns out it was really out of fear of disobeying my parents.

When I was older, I started to question the reasons why we had to dress up to go to church, and the only reason I recall getting was a bit of an analogy.....something like this.....

If the Queen was coming to town (because we are Canadian, the queen coming to town is a real possibility), we would certainly want to dress up and present ourselves respectfully before her.  We wouldn't just wear our everyday clothes to see her."

(Everette heard the same story in his upbringing, too!)

Anyways, this analogy never made sense in my heart.  I didn't know why, and I don't purport to know exactly why now, either.  But I have a few thoughts.

The Queen is a sovereign.  We don't have relationship with her other than the fact that we are her subjects.  There is no friendship.  We aren't related.  We don't travel in the same circles, and even if we did there would always be protocol that would be required and distance kept.

God is sovereign, also.  But we aren't His subjects.  We are relatives; children of God.  We are His sons and daughters, in relationship with Him.  Nobody should be more comfortable with Him than His children.  Yes, I know He is holy and pure, but He is love, and there is comfort in that love, not fear.

So, I don't get all dressed up before going to visit my parents.  And I don't get dressed up before 'visiting' with God.  I live with Him.  I am in Jesus, and He is in me, and He is also in the Father, and it doesn't matter what I look like or anything....He sees me and loves me any how. 

Another thought.

The Jews wear kippahs or yarmulkes on their heads, as reminders that they are in the presence of God.  Maybe, if our outward appearance mattered, it would be wise for us to do like the Jews; recognizing that He is above us, and always in His presence. Many Jews wear them ALL the time, not just when they are in a tangible place of worship.

That makes more sense to me.  If we needed to dress a particular way before going to see the sovereign, and God is the sovereign, then why wouldn't we be dressing that way all the time since He is everywhere and we are never separated from Him? 

Question for You:   Did you grow up in church with this same argument?  How did you feel about it?


  1. Hi Karen And Everette
    Interesting topic about dress code. I as well was raised in a church. Though I don't make an issue of this topic in our churches other than to encourage people to dress in a way that isn't a temptation or stumbling block to the opposite sex. Since we are to flee fleshly passions and not incite them in the church nor on the street.
    I do though think that Jer 17:9- 10 tells us that God looks beyond the heart, but he also looks at our ways or walk and the fruit or result of what we do. Also in Heb 4:12 it mentions that God discerns the thoughts and intentions of our hearts. Which means he examines our attitudes and the real purpose behind why we do things the way we do them. We can use the example as stated of a child going to see a father, but then if we examine how our heavenly Father is dressed and how a prince or princess dresses when they go out into a public gathering, or even in how they dress when they leave their bedroom, I would say it is with a lot more effort of personnal prepartion then most christians do every Sunday morning. Remember the ten virgins, 5 were prudent and 5 weren't, the difference was the preparation. Actually our preparation isn't to meet our father but to meet our future husband. When any women goes to meet her future husband she takes the time to prepare herself and especially for her groom. We don't know when our groom is coming back, but we want our attitudes to be sharp in looking how to please him in all we do. I think that God doesn't care if our clothes are expensive or not, but he looks at the intentions of our heart which show up if we have the same spirit of excellence that Daniel in the Bible had and the fruit is how we dress which reveals the attitude within the heart and that is what God judges. Good intentions won't get us to heaven.
    I guess I just like it when God says to me "You look real good today" I know He says it in response to His examination of my intents and the fruit produced because of it.

    Just thoughts.
    I love God enough and His people enough to dress up for them, it's a special occasion and a priveledge for me to be in their company. As it is to count Everett and yourself as my brother and sister in the Lord.

    John Nickel

  2. Thanks for posting, John, and emailing Everette. He's thrilled to be in touch with you guys. We'd love to come and visit ;)

    I believe the heart is where the crux of the issue is. I think that many of us impose outward standards on others so they look like they bear the fruit of a heart with good intentions, but like me, the heart was far from good intent. We've encouraged actions that we judge to be godly, without really showing people/dc how to engage their hearts with God and live from that place in their relationship with Him. No purpose to having a clean cup on the outside when the inside is dirty.