Sunday Best – What if We’ve Got It All Wrong?

I’ve grown up in the church my entire life.   

So I’m very familiar with the term, “Sunday Best.”   It’s the really nice clothes, nice shoes, fancy tie, fancy dress that you save for Sunday.   You don’t wear it out to eat on Friday because if you spilled on it, you couldn’t get it dry cleaned in time for Sunday.

In certain cultures and societies, they call them,  “Sunday go to meeting” clothes.

Well, who are you meeting?   The minister?  As a preacher’s kid and a preacher’s brother, trust me, they are good guys but you don’t need to get dressed up for them.

The rest of the congregation?   Well, I think that might be part of it.  You get dressed up because you want to impress the Elders and the Joneses and the other “important” people in your church.   You want to make it look like you’ve got it all together.

I think that’s a big part of it.   We get dressed up because we want to send a message to the rest of our fellow church members that we’ve got it under control.   We’ve got it happening and we’re good.

But what’s a bigger part of it?  I think the biggest part is that we dress up on Sunday to go to church because we think it shows reverance and a realization of how big and important God is.   We get dressed up just like someone would get dressed up to go see the Queen of England.

But is that what God really wants?  Does he really want us to spend time and money to try to impress him?  (Like that’s going to work!).   

Or instead, does He want us to come as we really are?   Does He want us to come with the scars from the week?   Does He want us to come wearing party clothes because it’s been a wonderful week?   Does He want us to come in a baggy sweatshirt and jeans because that’s all the energy we had this morning?

There are many instances in the Bible where God’s people were in mourning and wore ripped up dirty old clothes and sat in ash heaps while they mourned and cried out to God (Job, Mordecai).   There are other times where they wore festive party attire and sang and danced before the Lord in joy (the return of the Ark of the Covenant.)

No, I think we’ve got it all wrong.   God doesn’t want us to dress up in our “Sunday best” to impress others or to impress Him.

God wants us to come to Him, struggling, limping through the doors to the church, as we are, as we hurt, as we feel pain and He welcomes us.

“Come here my child, I am yours and you are mine – no matter what this past week has done to you, for you or inspite of you.”

God also welcomes us in our joy and our celebrations. 

“Come here my child!  Isn’t it amazing what I’ve done in your life and the lives of your loved ones this week?  Let’s have a party and celebrate.  The lost was found, the blind was healed, the lame walk!”

We’ve got it wrong.  We don’t need to wear our Sunday best, we need to wear our Sunday real clothes.

And come to our Father as we are.  No false pretenses, no sugar coating, just real, raw belief in an almighty Father who has us all in His hands.

Maybe we can start by asking our churches to designate one Sunday a month a “come as you feel” Sunday.   Come as you feel – tired, worn, wounded, grateful, celebratory – whatever it is,  let what you wear to church be a mirror to see into your soul.

Many of us would be blessed by knowing we are not alone.


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