Sunday, August 29, 2010

the Sunday dresses of your souls...

Most of our churches will begin their regular program year in just a couple of weeks.  In honor of that start, I will excerpt, over the next few days, Bernard Whitman's sermon, "Excuses for Neglecting Public Worship Examined."  More on Whitman (1796-1834) later (see his DUUB bio here.)  His first stated common reason for neglecting worship is, perhaps, not a large issue in our churches these days...

"I shall take occasion to examine some of the common excuses for neglecting public worship. I would not be severe or unreasonable or uncharitable in my remarks. I well know that many persons are necessarily detained from the house of God on certain days and particular occasions. Ill health, domestic concerns, bad weather and travelling, and a variety of other causes furnish satisfactory excuses.

1. The first excuse which I shall notice is this; the want of proper clothing. This is offered by two different classes of persons. The first are those who are unwilling to appear at church unless they can make as showy an appearance as any in their station. Hence they are frequently detained at home by this ambition. Now is not this a false principle of action ? Does it not originate in unbecoming pride ? And is it not productive of pernicious consequences ? With such vanity, even when assembled with spiritual worshippers, your thoughts will probably be confined to yourselves. And while thinking of your external appearance, can you receive useful instruction? While securing the applause of your fellow creatures, can you heartily unite in the worship of your Creator? Will the beauty and splendor of your garments render the sacred exercises more acceptable to your Saviour? Do you assemble on the sabbath to display your taste and fashion, to attract notice and excite observation? Or to bow down with reverence and gratitude before the Father of your spirits, who is no respecter of persons, and who judges not according to the outward appearance, but looks on the heart and gives grace to the humble ? O let not sinful pride detain any one of you from assembling with those who keep holy time. Think more of the Sunday dresses of your souls, and less of the outward adorning of your bodies, when you prepare to enter the house of your heavenly Father."


1 comment:

Bill Baar said...

Believe as care, dress as we want... at least Modern UUs.

I don't think were that anarchic a Church though in practice.

Less so on belief, a tad more so on dress.