Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Recent Headcovering Experiences

Here is a photo of me (next to my husband), at a service in which our mission agency was celebrating our imminent departure to the mission field with prayer. I am wearing the lightweight scarf I mention later in this post.

After 5 years of raising support, my husband and I were commissioned as missionaries about a month ago. The church which commissioned us has never practiced headcovering, and honestly, I felt pretty nervous about going up onto the stage and covering my head in front of everyone. We had to speak first, show a video, talk a little more, then the chairman said they'd be praying for us. But God really prepared the way for me: in the weeks leading up to that Sunday, the pastor 'accidentally' started teaching on the verses in 1 Corinthians 11.

I say 'accidentally' because he hadn't planned it, but it was clear to me that God had planned it! Pastor W. was teaching on headship and brought up the passage in relation to male leadership within the local church and couldn't avoid discussing headcoverings, since the ladies in the audience began asking. He expressed the opinion that it IS for today and that we really ought to be doing it.

When we arrived for our commissioning, then, it wasn't such a huge deal that I had a headcovering. My husband and I were on stage, waiting for the men to come up and pray for us and I quickly unfolded my "pashmina" scarf and--as discreetly as possible in front of the whole congregation--put it on my head.

Then I realized that they only meant for my husband to stay on the stage, and intended for me to go sit down. I felt a little sad, since it would've been much easier to just put it on in my seat, but knew it must have been for a reason.

Later, I heard from our friend L. how it affected a young lady in the audience (A.), whom I know to be concerned with obedience to God in this area. A. said that I covered my head in a non-distracting and ladylike way and that when I sat down it was also clear that I was not drawing attention to myself, but instead "showing off" my submissive spirit in relation to my husband.

WOW. Just what I needed to hear.

In my last post, I said I'd tell you about covering my head for prayer at a Ladies' Tea. It was another interesting situation, because it was an outreach and I was seated at a table with some ladies who don't normally attend church at all and 2 Christian ladies who don't cover their heads to pray.

I used my lightweight scarf, and faithfully pulled it on whenever we were praying or singing. At the end, the lady next to me said, "So, what's with the scarf-y thingy?!" It wasn't rude or anything, just a genuine question. I was happy to explain, but did find it a bit difficult to explain why I found it so compelling and the 2 other ladies whom she knew to be Christians didn't. Which leads me to a quote from Momma Jo. [Click on her name for her website.]

"When I read those verses it seemed very clear in my mind that a woman's head being covered was of significance. It did not read to me to be a simple custom but a command to obey; that it was important for women to remember and be marked as being under the authority of God and man. It seemed to me to be an issue of serious weight so I was a little dumbfounded as to why I'd NEVER heard any pastor ever preach on this subject or any Christian I knew talk about it."

Isn't that so true? Why is it that pretty much no one talks about it? Because we don't want to do it? Because we don't read the Bible through enough to realize it's in there? Because we don't feel like submitting to our husbands?

I'm not much for resolutions, but it seems to jump-start a lot of people, so...

How about a New Year's resolution to talk about it? Let's discuss it. Let's do it, even if we don't want to. Let's actually read the Bible to see if there's anything else we're missing. And let's submit to our husbands and other male authority in our lives, even if we don't feel like it.

And, lest I forget, KUDOS to you ladies who are obeying God in this way. Kudos to those of you who are truly thinking about it! And kudos to the pastors who ARE preaching and teaching on the topic, whether they plan on it or not!

How much thought have you put into this issue?