Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Current Practice, Overscrupulous, & Because of the Angels

We have been extremely busy preparing to leave the country, but I feel like I need to post an update. I know that there are some comments here which I haven't answered yet, but I plan to do that in my next post. I apologize for not having time for more now, but I am grateful for your interest in the subject and my thoughts.

MY CURRENT PRACTICE: I have been covering my head with a scarf (which happens to be from the Middle East) whenever I pray, unless I'm wearing a shirt or sweater with a hood, in which case I use that as a covering. My husband asked me after I'd worn a hood on Monday how I had decided it was a proper covering, and I explained that I was going by a quote from Tertullian which had caught my attention:

"For some, with their turbans and woollen bands, do not veil their head, but bind it up; protected, indeed, in front, but, where the head properly lies, bare. Others are to a certain extent covered over the region of the brain with linen coifs of small dimensions— I suppose for fear of pressing the head— and not reaching quite to the ears. If they are so weak in their hearing as not to be able to hear through a covering, I pity them. Let them know that the whole head constitutes the woman. Its limits and boundaries reach as far as the place where the robe begins. The region of the veil is co-extensive with the space covered by the hair when unbound; in order that the necks too may be encircled. "

So, since the hood covers as much of my head as my hair does (sometimes more, since it often covers my ears), I decided it would "count". Also, I thought through the issue of "the angels" and also the fact that my wearing a covering on my head to pray shows others that I understand my role as a woman. Then I considered that a hood is not completely unusual and that I am often very cold. So, then, would wearing a hood for prayer show my heart's desire to show submission? Yes, I think it does, since I put it on my head for prayers and take it down directly after.

OVERSCRUPULOUS? In my last post, I discussed the possibility that I am being "Overscrupulous", and today I must say that I don't think I am. Today I was listening to a Sunday School teaching by the pastor of our church and I think he made a great point about the passage: 1 Corinthians was written by Paul to the church which he intended to visit.
  • 1 Cor. 11:34, "And when I come I will give further directions."
  • 1 Cor. 16:5-7 "After I go through Macedonia, I will come to you—for I will be going through Macedonia. Perhaps I will stay with you awhile, or even spend the winter, so that you can help me on my journey, wherever I go. I do not want to see you now and make only a passing visit; I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.").
Therefore, the instructions contained in the letter were the issues which Paul thought were most essential for the people to know before his arrival and further teaching. So, I'm definitely not ready to ignore the instructions he wrote through inspiration of God the Holy Spirit.

BECAUSE OF THE ANGELS Also, in my last post, I promised to get back to the phrase "because of the angels" used in 1 Cor. 11:10. As I discussed it with my husband earlier today, we talked about the fact that it is truly a mystery and that I don't think we'll ever fully understand what it means.

Some people speculate that a fuller explanation includes the facts that: 1) the angels understand the God-ordained roles of men & women, 2) they are watching in our church services (and other places where we pray), and 3) it is important for us to show outwardly that we understand our roles too.

While these reasons make sense, but don't fully explain "because of the angels" to me, the command would still be to cover my head if the Apostle Paul had written, "And there's another really valid reason." So, because he says, "because of the angels, " I obey.

For further thought-provocation, listen to this sermon by Rev. Dr. Timothy A. Williams


Bethany W. said...

Ryan and Sandi,
That was a great point about Paul's teachings contained in the letter were most important till he saw them in person. Good idea. Great post!
Bethany W.

Azalea Lilac said...

God bless your journey!

Paul Woods said...

Personally, "because of the angels" seals the deal for me. Our culture changes, that of the habitation of angels does not, enough said, right? So I think, anyway.

How much thought have you put into this issue?