Bishop Karen Kober
|TO DRESS OR NOT TO DRESS?
I read an email newsletter that gave insight to anothers feelings about wearing ritual garments to offer a church service. That no longer did this person feel the need to dress in vestment or stole because God loved this person for who they are.
Yes God knows and loves us unconditionally. Does He think less of us if we do not dress for church anymore? I doubt there is any decrease in His love for us.
Our society has found casual wear to be less constricting than for women to wear a dress. The complaints of why one should not wear a dress is often heard. I have not found this to be true if when trying on a dress to purchase. I just made sure as manufacturer sizes change that I found one that was comfortable.
I am use to wearing a dress from childhood. My mother thought that I needed to learn how to wear a dress and be appropriate in the way I used my body when wearing a dress. Usually this meant to stand and sit as if not to expose one's intimate physical parts or underwear. She wanted me to learn how to feel and act feminine. Feminine was not a unisex term then for that was the way it was.
I taught my daughter to wear dresses and to feel comfortable in them. In casual wear she did wear slacks, shorts, then known as peddle pushers, and jeans. Yes jeans. The first grade teacher complained that she wore dresses. She wanted her in slacks for the children were to sit cross legged in class. She also felt her dresses were too short. Just at the knee was short (mini's were not known then)? I refused to change her garments though I knew she would wear jeans in the future. Now was the time to learn how to wear a dress.
Yes other girls wore jeans nor did they have a past experience of learning how to behave in a dress. I found it was interesting to watch what happened when they did wear a dress. In jeans they felt relaxed to sit and move about without consideration for appearance or what position their body was in. Then in dresses they exposed everything for they did not know how to respond to wearing a dress and had no insight to how they looked with their legs every which way.
In later college life our daughter applied for a job at a bank. Little did she know the two men from the banksat in the booth at the restaurant where she worked, to observe how she looked in public. Was she clean and fresh looking, were her garments and shoes clean without buttons missing, spots, or torn areas. How she attended to serve people, her verbal responses of courtesy with a smile. Observing if she was efficient and organized. What was her physical attitude and well as verbal. At the bank they tested her for how she could count a large amount of money. She counted to the penny! She became a bank executive! We never know when people are looking at us and how we present ourselves as to who we truly are!
Casual attire became the norm even in work atmospheres. I am not going to wear a dress it is uncomfortable was the lament. It was probablhy because the dress did not fit properly. Women were fascinated by saying they wore a dress two sizes smaller than what they should. Size mattered. Casual attire can be very elegant. Grubbies are for home and outdoors.
As humans we took the inch and turned it into a mile. The Grubbies became the attire of daily life no matter where one was. Wrinkled flannel PJ bottoms with kiddie prints, slippers, and uncombed hair (did they brush their teeth I pondered?) in public. I found it amusing for I wondered if they looked in the mirror before leaving home or ask themselves how they felt or how others felt seeing this attire about town? Oh, I'm just running to the convenience store! Grubbies are in yet do we have to look as if we just crawled out of bed in public?
Does God love me in Grubbies? Yes! Is this the true question?
Wearing appropriate attire for the occasion sets a feeling of self-respest, self-respect, and self-worth. Studies have showed that when we dress appropriately for school our grades are higher, in business our performance rises. Wearing Grubbies to a job interview does not get us a job! We would end up feeling like the King who wore no clothes.
Is this really the question?
Wearing a Sacred garment for ritual sets the mood and intention for the church setting. We are ritual humans. Have you tried putting the opposite shoe on first? The list of how we ritually do things is endless. Ritual is important to humans and not only important it helps us to stay in balance.
What else does wearing a Sacred garment do? Or wearing better than Grubbies to church? Yes it takes less time to wear grubbies for no has to think or plan our attire, just throw on what has landed on the bedroom chair the night before. Who cares it the clothes have an odor? Or personal care was eliminated to save time? Having a ritual of personal hygiene and wearing garments that are clean and pleasant to look at also makes us feel fresh and ready for the day or an event. We are like the morning sun and have awakened to a new day! It has the innate pleasure of feeling good, anticipating, and enjoy knowing that one has shown respect for the Sacred environment of Church and other people not to mention self-worth.
A Sacred garment prepared and worn sets the sacred intention in ritual of our worship. The feeling of being in a Sacred place and the person who conducts the serman shows respect for God, the church, and its people who are the church. Yes ritual is important even when preparing to give a serman or attend church and church events. It is a ritual way of honoring God and who we are through respect.
Yes God loves us no matter if we were casual clothes or not, grubbies or not, the King's clothes or not. He loves to hear children's laughter and He knows that I love Him to wear something sacred meant for Him one day a week for only a couple of hours. I know He knows I have done this just for Him for He knows every moment of me and my love for Him!