Dressing Up Without Playing Dress Ups

One of the things we need to remember when it comes to church architecture is that a building is corporate clothing. A building is how the whole church dresses. The trick is how to dress up without playing dress ups.

Now we have taught for years that worship ought to be respectful and dignified, not breezy and casual. We do not take out ads in the paper inviting the unchurched to come in their pjs. We are supposed to worship God with reverence and godly fear, and this includes our demeanor, and our demeanor includes our clothing (Heb. 12:28). Paul rejoiced that the worship of the Colossians was in good order (Col. 2:5).

Some of you may have noticed that I am not dressed as I usually am. The way I usually dress is intended to communicate respect, but dressing this way does not mean disrespect—it only means that the language of respect can vary. But whenever anything is done week after week without ever varying it, the unspoken assumption can take root in a congregation that this is the way it is done. And from that to petty liturgical idolatry is just a few short steps. This is even more the case when the dress is explicitly ecclesiastical—robes and so forth.

What does this have to do with a building? If a building is our corporate clothing, and it will be, after we have been worshiping there for fifty years, if the pastor then notices that the congregation has gotten attached in the wrong way, he can’t change it up for a week or two in order to make a point. The thing is built out of stone. The trick is how to keep a stone building from creating stone hearts. It is supposed to go the other way. Living hearts of flesh make the building glorious . . . and clothing we can use simply as a way of speaking the truth.

So let the stones cry out.

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timothyEric StampherRoy Recent comment authors

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I really appreciate this series. The considered and prayerful planning is edifying to observe from afar. It cries out for God’s blessing.

Eric Stampher
Eric Stampher

It would be lovely to see you connect the dots between worship and liturgy.   You assume,  correctly, these verses relate to liturgy.   But passerbyers might get the idea you’ve nerded worship down to mainly go-to-meetins’.


Off Topic (slightly) but at ~45:08 of your 2012 sermon “The Nature of National Repentence” you pray that anybody who needs to hear the message will have access to it; just a heads up that your prayer request came to pass. (: