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.