A few Sundays ago I walked into the gas station wearing a suit and tie.
“Oh,” said the lady behind the counter. “You must have just come from church. You’re wearing your Sunday best.”
I had just come from church, but the suit and tie was because I was doing a funeral later for a friend. I never wear a suit and tie to church and I’m the preacher!
Times have surely changed. When I was a young boy growing up in Florida, despite summer heat and humidity, I always had to wear a three-piece suit to church. And I was just a kid with no special duties other than to be quiet enough during the sermon that the lady behind me didn’t flick my ear. Today an increasing number of preachers wear “dress casual.” Maybe it’s the peer pressure. Personally, I love preaching in Alaska. It’s not unusual for a member of the church to fish for salmon all morning and then come to church looking and smelling like a fisherman. Read the gospels and notice how much Jesus loved fishermen!
The sacredness of worship has not changed. The need to show respect and honor to God and to each other is unwavering. But how clothing denotes respect has changed in some congregations.
This raises an important question. Where do you go to be in the presence of the sacred and how do you show your honor and respect?
As a Christian, one of the places I hope you go to regularly is a building filled with your spiritual family. With or without suits, it’s a sacred occasion. But God is everywhere and we meet our immortal companions daily. The need for hearts open to see the sacred and for lives full of respect for God and others is constant and continual.
So, if my spiritual life is to flourish, I must enter my place of work knowing I’m treading on holy ground. I must respect my coworkers, sacred beings indeed. I must become a better listener. I must strive to carry my load. I must maintain a respectful tone to those working alongside me and to my boss. I must learn to say “thank-you” often.
The same holds true for the golf course — a truly sacred place if ever I saw one! — the river, the grocery store, and the bank. There is never a time that I’m not on holy ground. There is never a time that I speak to someone who is not a child of God, made in his image.
Recalling the time in the Old Testament in the Bible when Moses stood in front of the burning bush and was told to take off his shoes because he was on holy ground, Elizabeth Barrett Browning gave us some wonderful lines of poetry.
“Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes –
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.”
Rick Cupp serves as minister of the Kenai Fellowship, Mile 8.5 Kenai Spur Highway, 283-7682. Sunday Bible classes are at 10 a.m., worship at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday worship and Bible classes are at 7 p.m.