The congregation has been invited to come casual tomorrow and then stay after worship for a couple of hours, helping our Trustees clean out a room that has been filled with music, moving the music to the 4th floor where it belongs. At the same time, we will be letting go of some of the furniture that was damaged in the move or no longer needed. We have invited people, even encouraged people, to wear jeans to church. And yet, I know that when some people wear jeans to church, other people complain.
Is this the way they dress during the week?
If they can wear a suit to the office all week, then why can't they wear a suit to church?
Would they wear that to their grandmother's church?
This, my friends, is not your grandmother's church. Your grandmother's church is almost dead - or probably is dead - unless it has made some changes, adapting to the changing landscape of our communities and changing lifestyles of the people who live around us.
There is an article in today's Washington Post called "Bush White House Assails Obama." The article is complete with a picture of President Obama and several of his staff members doing the God-forsaken thing of sitting in the Oval Office without their coats on. It seems as though our new President and his staff work better without their suit jackets. Dan Eggen, writer of the article writes, "And Andrew H. Card Jr., George W. Bush's first chief of staff, took Obama to task for allowing shirtsleeves and loose collars in the Oval Office - arguing that they are a clear departure from Bush's sterner sartorial rules." Eggen quotes Card saying "'There should be a dress code of respect.'"
Now, I have to tell you that I believe in respect. I believe that we are to respect our elders and also some time-honored tradition. But, I also believe that people have a tendency to get all bent out of shape on ridiculous things - like young people wearing jeans to church and a young President not keeping his jacket on in the Oval Office.
I would much rather that the President roll up his sleeves and get to work on fixing the miserable mess our country is in right now. I would much rather his staff wear what most suits their ability to work well. I want the staff of the White House to be focused on fixing what is broken. I want these individuals entrusted with power to think about the poor and not how to appear more powerful. I don't want their energy consumed by how they should appear when they are in the West Wing or the Oval Office.
And, I want the doors of our church to be open to all - to those dressed like my grandmother dressed when she went to church and to those who do not own anything that nice. I want the doors of our church to be wide open for those who appear to have it all together and those who appear to be falling apart. I want the doors of our church wide open to those who wear ties and to those who wear sweatpants. I want the doors of our church open to anyone who dares to come in - not matter what they wear or anything else!
Come on, people, let's focus on the big picture - both at the White House and in our houses of worship.
At Mount Vernon Place, you can wear whatever is most comfortable to you. Come in what pleases you - come in whatever you want.
Maybe I'll wear jeans to church tomorrow.