Sunday, November 18, 2012


I do not know this gentlemen, but his photo was available as an example of business attire. Such attire has changed over the years - ties have been wider or narrower, lapels increased or decreased, collars lengthened or shortened yet basically the same. When we see a man in a suit we know he means business. We know he is serious about his work.

My husband was a construction superintendent. Such attire was not his regular choice – though he was very serious about his business (and very good at it, too.) It was neither expected nor appropriate in his daily work to be dressed in a suit and tie. Other business had dress codes, until toward the end of last century.

The changes came gradually. Casual Fridays – sort of a precursor of the coming weekend, or upper management heading for the golf course that afternoon. Soon employees without client contact had even more relaxed dress codes. Before I retired, employees were wearing sandals, shorts and T-shirts. For those who worked from home, attire wasn’t an issue at all and bunny slippers were a norm.

What brought this to mind? A stained glass window at a seminary, a picture of a recent graduate in casual dress – no tie, open collar – and I realized how many preachers I’ve seen that have made that dress code choice. Mine hasn’t, and I admire his respect for his God, his job, his congregation and the example he sets for those he mentors and leads.

Moses received specific instructions regarding priests’ clothing:

And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. (Exodus 28:2-3 KJV)

The instructions continue with the fabric, the colors, the layers. Catholic priests, even today, have clearly defined clothing for specific occasions. Our pastors should be grateful that’s not necessary in our congregations.

But – respect is. Respect for our God. Respect for His word. Respect for the congregation. A preacher’s job is not – or at least should not be – casual. It is a very serious business.  A good example is Nehemiah 8:1-8, a little too long to include here, so click the link and study those scriptures. Dress is not mentioned. Did you notice that? The people were attentive, the scripture reading was done from a pulpit, was read distinctly and the people understood. It wasn’t casual.

So – this has been my opinion, and does not have a biblical base other than the multitude of verses that tell me that the Lord our God deserves our respect simply because we are His.

The heavens are thine, the earth also is thine: as for the world and the fulness thereof, thou hast founded them. (Psalms 89:11 KJV)

That bears repeating, and Paul did:

For the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. (1 Corinthians 10:26 KJV)

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