Yesterday was Easter, my favorite day of the year. I simply cannot reflect on the cross and the price my Savior paid without being filled with an overwhelming joy. Yes, joy. I know that may sound odd to some, especially when you consider that He died such an ugly death, but the reality is that Easter is a celebration of His resurrection, His overcoming death, and His life.
Yes, He died, but He is living, and that’s something to truly celebrate.
My church started a new service at the beginning of February. We call it “Encounter,” because it’s designed to strip away all the “traditions” that the church is often seen to possess in order to create a true, genuine, authentic encounter with God and our risen King. Not that other styles of worship service don’t do this, but this particular service was created in order to reach people who resist a more “traditional” environment.
Now, I don’t really know if we are succeeding in that endeavor, and honestly, I’m not sure we ever can…not completely anyway.
For example, in the week leading up to the Easter service, I was asked exactly three times by three different people the following question: what are we supposed to wear to the Encounter service on Easter? We’re not going to wear jeans on Easter, are we?
You see, the Encounter service is being advertised as a casual, come-as-you-are type experience, where the bondage of expectation is supposed to have been removed from the equation, that a person can come in whatever attire, with whatever is laid upon his/her heart, and simply be who they are before an almighty, all-loving God in order to experience the true love of Jesus Christ.
Again, I’m not saying this doesn’t occur in all types of worship services in all churches all over the country already, but there is a distinct sector of our population that feels the urge or desire to attend church and worship corporately, but for one reason or another, feels that a more “traditional” style doesn’t suit them, for whatever reason.
All of this is fine and good. I have no problem with anybody going to whichever service, type of service, style of service, or whatever they want to do. That’s not the point here.
What is the point is the mentality underlying the question mentioned above: We’re not going to wear jeans on Easter, are we?
Now, I know at least one of the people who asked this question was kidding. I’m not sure about the other two. It doesn’t really matter, although the fact that it’s even a joke does say something about our very mindsets.
My question is this: where does this underlying “pressure” to conform come from?
I mean seriously, jeans on Easter? Is this a sin? If I walk into any church anywhere with jeans on, regardless of the day of the year it is, will I be worshipping less fully or less genuinely or less truly? Will I be being less reverent? Where did this notion of “giving God my best” as it pertains to clothing come from? And, is there any merit to it?
I don’t know, but it all seems extremely legalistic to me, very Pharisaical.
Galatians 5:1 reads, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Yes, I know this verse is talking about freedom from sin and our slavery to sin and that we have been freed from that, but inherent in the freedom Christ gave us, isn’t there a freedom from all the pressure of toeing the proverbial line of judgment by our peers?
I wore jeans today. On Easter, believe it or not. No, I didn’t do it to take a stand, I didn’t do it to stand out, and I didn’t do it out of spite. I wore jeans because they are comfortable, and because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my worship experience could and would be just as plentiful, reverent, and true no matter what I was wearing.
And, you know what? There were a people there wearing ties and sport coats and dress pants, and they looked really nice. In fact, from a standpoint of style, they looked way “nicer” than I did. I didn’t care. I hope they were comfortable, and I hope they met God there in a genuine worship experience.
The truth is, I suspect God didn’t even see their clothing. No, I suspect he saw the state of their hearts. I suspect he saw their thoughts surrounding their clothing and the clothing of those around them.
That’s what it’s all about, friends. It’s about where your heart is. It’s not about your attire or someone else’s, unless of course, your heart isn’t aligned properly with either.
That’s what God is looking at. And, why?
Because we’re free. On that cross oh so long ago, Christ paid the ultimate price for us, and out of that cold, dark tomb, He rose on the third day…to set us free.
Please continue to share this site with anybody and everybody God lays on your heart.