Sure, I’ll wear a suit. We’ll have the kids put on some decently nice outfits. My wife will look wonderful as always.
But maybe tomorrow, all of us could choose not to dress up. Maybe tomorrow, we could gather for worship without hiding who we really are. Instead of only smiling and keeping the kids in line, maybe we could let a little of the real us show. We don’t have to bear all our wounds at once, but letting the band-aids show won’t kill us.
You see, the people behind you in worship tomorrow might think you’re better than they are. Your well-behaved kids and beautiful singing intimidates others. Sometimes we’re so well put together that others feel out of place. How many times I’ve heard (and even said), “When I first came here, I thought everyone was so much better than I was.” Could there be a sadder story than that? How is that sinners gathered before their Savior could ever seem to be better than someone else?
We gather for worship because we are, each of us, poor. Not one of us will bring to worship tomorrow anything that can buy God’s love or earn His favor. No one is in less need of the atoning death of Christ than anyone else. We’ll be in worship because none of us (none!) have any hope in ourselves. We can try to shine it up, but we’re only fooling each other and hurting those who haven’t learned to play the game yet.
So if you don’t dress up tomorrow, we’ll be fine with that. If you need to come to worship and not smile, you won’t be the only one. If your kids are the loud ones tomorrow, not a single one of us will judge you. If you come to worship barely hanging on to God’s grace and promises, we’ll tighten our grip together. Worship is not the gathering of the haves and have-nots…it’s just the gathering of those who have given up every other hope than Jesus, including themselves. If we can’t be really imperfect and imperfectly real here, what’s the point?
Don’t be fooled by the suit. We’re all beggars coming for the feast.