20—wearing Sunday best
My name is Tom; this is Simple Church Minute.
In Luke chapter 20 verses 45 to 47, it says, “Then, in the hearing of all the people, (Jesus) said to the disciples, ‘Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows houses, and for pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.’” Where did the idea of wearing (quote) Sunday best (unquote) come from? This only goes back about 300 years. Before then, only the rich could afford nice clothes. From medieval times to the 18th century, clothes indicated social status, just as in Jesus’ day in the passage above. Poor people were forbidden to wear nice clothes. The industrial revolution made the possibility of poor having everyday and special occasion clothes a financial possibility. At first, it was just the middle class who was allowed to distinguish themselves from the poor, and later that distinction disappeared.
One problem with this is that it accentuates an unscriptural division between sacred and secular. Another problem is the idea of going to church to “meet God.” God’s New Covenant with his chosen people crucially says that we are all kings and priests needing no intercessor; we speak directly to the Father. We also know that God knows our heart, that what we wear cannot hide or change what He knows about what is in our spirit. Our trying to build an image can only cause sin in relation to how we deal with others. Nice clothes do not make us clean before God; Jesus’ sacrificial blood did (past-tense) that. The early Christians made an overt effort to erase class and racial distinctions within the church—see James 2 verses 1 to 5.
On the recording, at this time, it says, “house churches.” While that phrasing is OK, to say “organic church” is better. I comment on that in blip 94.