I should have posted this before posting about the ephod and the breastplate. I had forgotten about this insight. It was interesting to see this in scripture because around the campfire we had just been talking about the opposite side of this issue. My friends and I come from the new school of dress as opposed to the old school of dress when it comes to dressing for church.
The old school, as perceived by us, is that you need to wear your absolute best on Sunday as defined by old school tradition. Women should wear skirts down below the knees. Men should wear a suit and tie. If you don’t have these, then you wear the next best that you have in comparison to that. But if you are going to be a leader in the church, you must always wear the best. Women who sing from the platform need to have on a dress, not pants. Men who serve communion need to be in a suit and tie.
The new school, as defined by us, is more relaxed. There is no rigidity to a certain standard. If you feel comfortable wearing a suit and tie, go for it. But most people nowadays are wearing a type of business casual. Since you are not dressing to please those around you, you are free to dress the way you want as long as you are not being indecent. Whatever you wear throughout the week when you are out in public should be perfectly fine for wearing to church. Leaders shouldn’t be required to wear anything other than what they would normally wear since that would be hypocritical, as in, it would be pretending to be something that you are not.
So imagine my surprise when, just after one of these conversations where we are all saying the same thing, I read this verse in the Bible.
Exodus 28:2 And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.
This is the introduction to a description of all that the high priest and priests would have to wear while performing their priestly duties. So this verse stands in a pivotal location in scripture as does Exodus 28:40 which described the priests’ clothes. The items that the priests were to wear were to be holy. They were also to serve the purpose of existing for the glory and the beauty of wearing them. When Aaron put on those priestly garments, they were to be beautiful and glorious.
When you stop and think for a minute about exactly what the high priest was wearing, it was glorious and beautiful. Start with the head, see the turban with pure gold plate on it. The phrase "Holy To The LORD" is engraved for all to see. On Aaron’s shoulders are two, huge, onyx stones. The chains of gold bind together the different pieces of clothing. On the breastplate are twelve precious jewels which would make any queen jealous. In the gold there is an ornamental engraving which is beautiful from afar, and only increases in beauty when one approaches even closer. On the hem of the robe is woven the design of a pomegranate then a bell all around the edge.
Is there a New Testament correlation? We are priests of the most high God. But we do not dress in the fashion that the high priest dressed in the Old Testament. But is the principle the same? Should we try to look glorious and beautiful for the LORD when we dress to gather together as the body of Christ? I’m not talking about looking good for other people, I’m talking about wearing something to show off what a great God we have. As we look to draw attention to him by the way we dress, shouldn’t we dress in a way that shows our God to be glorious and beautiful?
Perhaps the old school way of dress has a few lessons for the new school to learn. If I wear dress slacks and a button up shirt to work every day, wouldn’t it be giving God less if I wear faded blue jeans and a polo shirt on Sunday? (Especially if I minister in some official capacity.) If I have the attitude of, "People are just going to have to accept me the way I am" to try to justify the lack of attempt on my part to dress well for church, isn’t that a reverse type of hypocrisy? It would be putting on the opposite type of show. It would be saying, "I care about the way I dress the other six days out of the week, but for church, I’m not doing any more than is absolutely necessary."
For those of us who are priests who want God’s glory to reflect off us in everything that we do, we should dress to bring glory and beauty to God. We should realize that our bodies are holy temples of the Holy Spirit; and collectively as the body of Christ, we are the temple of God when we come together as well. We should not be pretentious and try to bring glory to ourselves. Instead, we should remember who we serve, and our function of service: priests of the Most High God.
Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13
-The Orange Mailman