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I Wear a Tie; Here’s Why

Growing up in North Tonawanda, New York in the ’60s and ’70s – I have such good memories of my time in western New York. My home was one of conservative Christian parenting. We attended St. Mark Lutheran Church each Sunday without fail. We all were baptized and confirmed there. It was generational. My brother and two sisters and I were educated at St. Mark Lutheran School, with teachers who partnered with parents in Christian education. Perhaps we were somewhat sheltered, but it is all we knew. Christ was central to our home life. We faithfully read My Devotions (Concordia Publishing House) after our supper meal, and Dad asked every question at the end of the reading, to pull us into discussions that at times got quite lively. It was fun. The Holy Spirit was present.

Mom taught the four of us children important skills that she believed we needed to know, as we grew up. This included how to set the table, washing and drying dishes (there was never a dishwasher in our house), planting and harvesting the garden, lawn chores, and even how to make clothes match so we could be more independent in choosing what to wear—when we were ready to do so. We were a close family, we quarreled at times as brothers and sisters, but we forgave one another readily. We all knew the power of forgiveness and of grace.

            At one of our devotional discussions after a meal, I remember asking Dad why we dressed up for church every Sunday. I was about 16 at the time. He simply said to all of us that it was an expression of giving God our very best—including the wearing of a tie for gentlemen and a dress for ladies. After supper we continued this discussion on the front porch, each enjoying our cup of Taster’s Choice® instant coffee. My father shared how his dad (my beloved grandfather) taught him that each Lord’s Day they would wear a tie to worship. For them, as father and son, it signified their unified effort to honor God by this small gesture of respect. It stuck with me. It was taught to me in my service in the United States Air Force as well—a deep and humbling respect. There is no judgment for those not dressing up, but this is my small witness of exalting, praising, and blessing our great God!

O LORD, You are my God;

I will exalt You: I will praise Your name,

For You have done wonderful things,

Plans formed of old, faithful and sure. Isaiah 12:1

Bless the LORD, O my soul,

and all that is within me,

bless His holy name! Psalm 103:1 (ESV)

            As a Lutheran school principal, I am often asked “Why the tie, Mr. Wrege? You are the only one. And, it is hot in Texas, and ties don’t help.” I just say, “Here’s why.” Then I proceed to share that it is my simple way to show God all glory and honor, expressing my gratitude and love for the Triune God. I tell them it will be so every chapel day and always at Sunday worship. It has become a way for me to witness. People ask me often, seemingly puzzled that I have a tie on. As Christians, we each have our way of “blessing His holy name” (see Psalm 103:1 above). This is my opportunity of not only outwardly being a visible witness, but one where I can also vocally explain “why the tie.” I pray that you too, can honor God in ways that express your uniqueness in His eyes and that allow you to witness in your own special way – to those around you and to the world.

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Thomas Wrege is an educator and principal, with 36 years in Lutheran school leadership. He has a desire to further the kingdom of God by providing rich resources that engage others to further their mission of sharing Jesus Christ throughout the world. He loves to be innovative and to collaborate with others in ministry.

5 Comments

  1. Chuck Winterstein on November 10, 2021 at 12:42 am

    Well written, Tom. I can certainly identify with you, as I witnessed my father always waring a tie. He was a Lutheran principal, an he too felt it was a way to honor his Lord. Thanks for reminding me, Tom.

  2. sue domeier on November 10, 2021 at 1:57 pm

    What a witness! Thank you for using your gifts to the glory of the Kingdom!

  3. Mel Block on November 13, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    I totally agree.

  4. Faith Goodrich on November 14, 2021 at 1:25 am

    I just read and enjoyed your “story” Tom. I could “picture” in my mind and heart everything you were saying. You, and I were truly blessed to grow up in a loving, Christian family. What great role models our parents were and hopefully we are passing that along to our children.

    My “witnessing” is through music (choir, accompanying the Harmony group at church, ) being part of the St. Mark Dorcas Stitchers and Quilters (quilts for LWR and many charities in the area and prayer shawls for whomever), being a caregiver for my husband and being a Mom, Grandma, and Great Grandma. Etc.

    May God bless all your endeavors,
    Faith Goodrich

  5. Jean Kirkland on November 24, 2021 at 6:25 pm

    Excellent witness. I appreciate it. I grew up in a very Christian home also always dressing my best for every worship service. Thank you.

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