We don’t use it much any more, maybe because there isn’t much any more, but dignity is a great word. Dignity refers to a quality or state worthy of honor and respect. It describes a man with worth, someone with nobility and gravitas and glory. True dignity can’t be reached via shortcuts and, once there, dignity acts in a certain way to maintain itself.
Our weekly corporate confess of sin is entirely about dignity. It is a time to protect honor, to preserve respect, and to put forth a noble image. We are, all of us, concerned with dignity.
However, we are not, all of us, concerned with the same dignity. Some of us are concerned to maintain our own dignity, to display a certain image that shows that we are worth something, that others should think highly of us. Those of us who are concerned for our own dignity may sit through this part of the service with a sense of superiority, sitting in distance from inward or outward concern for humility. We desire dignity before our brothers.
But, as I said, everyone is concerned for dignity and that is good. It is good when we approach this time concerned for the dignity of God because we esteem His worth, His nobility, His image. In order to acknowledge His dignity we confess our sin that brings trouble into His courts and that reflects poorly on His glory.
We are all of us concerned to maintain and to show off an image. The question is whose dignity we are daily, and in our worship, seeking to exalt.