By Pastor Rasheed Baaith
“…that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” (Exodus 28: 3c)
There seems to be a growing belief in our churches that the more casual we dress in coming to church and the shorter our services become, the more pleasing it is to the LORD. I don’t believe that to be so.
There are indeed some church services that run long. But remembering early church history might be in order. Especially as this is Black History Month.
In the time of slavery and our beginning to hold assemblies, church services were understandably long. Why? Because while we were in church there were no whips, no sun, no toil. Who wouldn’t want to stay in an environment of celebratory happiness even if were just a little while? Who wouldn’t want to extend the time for as long as possible?
Today, of course, is another time and some churches might want to do better with time management. Still it needs to be the Holy Spirit who determines when a service should end. We all know when He comes in and we all know when He leaves. If we heed Him, the services will be anointed, full and timely.
Yet it is probably in our pulpits where this casualness culture is most noticeable. It is here where the attitude that dignity is not important has accelerated. It is not enough some pastors are dressing like they’re going to a bar-b-que; they are not just wearing jeans but jeans with holes in them front and rear.
T-shirts have become the vogue in our pulpits. $500 and $1,000 sneakers are being worn by pastors who are pretending their lack of proper dress is because they are relating to their members. Unless everyone in the membership is wealthy, I do not see the connection.
And where did this attitude come from? How did all of this evolve?
It happened when we decided because the white ecclesiastical community was becoming more informal toward God and His church, we would too. It is not behaviors we should have patterned.
Church is where we go to engage and worship God. A place of beckoned holiness by the Priest –Pastor who demonstrates the authority of his/her office in every way he/she can. Including his/her dress.
If we take the time to read Exodus 28:5 – 14, we see Jehovah God’s detailed description of the garments He commanded the priests to wear while serving God’s people. I do not believe God did that as an option for those who would lead His churches.
It is not a question of endorsing formalities or traditions or of a desire to go “back in the day.” We are living in a new day with new demands on our churches. But the erosion of having awe for God, His church and our respect for both is showing the world that the image of the church is no longer distinctive from all else we know.
In church, sanctity flows from the Pulpit into the pews. It cannot be otherwise. If pastors project being nonchalant about worship, so will God’s people.
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