Friday, April 17, 2009

Why I Cover -Part One

Just a few brief words on my family. Dad's family have been Anglican (high church) since they landed in Newfoundland in the 1700's, with a little bit of Lutheran thrown in. Mom's family have been more Protestant. Some were missionaries/doctors in India and China, at least until the Boxer Rebellion, though some stayed and spent the War in Japanese internment camps. Mom herself was raised Baptist/United and became Anglican when she married Dad. And yes, she had family members worried she had married a "bleep bleep Catholic" :)

That being said, I wasn't raised in a covering household. Hats were worn to church just if you wanted to look stylish. It wasn't until I married Colin and really "found" myself and was happy with being ME.

I have always been fascinated with women who cover. I always wanted to dress like the Mennonite ladies I'd see occasionally in Toronto or at the St. Jacob's market. I loved anything period that I could find to watch or read; Anne of Green Gables, Little House on the Prairie, Little Women, anything medieval, etc. I now see that as God speaking to me and opening my mind to the idea of covering. I just didn't realize it could apply to my life in the late 20th century.

After marrying Colin in 2003, I was exposed to Mennonite ladies on a more regular basis. Colin even has some Mennonite friends/acquaintances. I longed after cape dresses and prayer coverings. I finally gave in and started looking around on the Web and was amazed at what I found. Not only do Anabapist women wear prayer coverings, but all sorts of Christian women too! I can't express how happy that made me feel.

I looked at the sites that were more Catholic/Anglican based and realized this was something I really wanted to do. Especially when I read that the Pope at the Second Vatican Council had actually NOT decreed that women were free to pray bare-headed. Even though Anglicans aren't under the command of the Pope, that's always been an argument by the liberal movement -"why cover when even the Catholics don't have too?".

So I pulled out my King James Bible and looked up the verses for myself. It all seemed so clear to me:

I Corinthians 11

v 3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man and the head of Christ is God.
v4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonoureth his head.
v. 5 But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven.
v6 For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.
v7 For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.

I know some people say a woman's hair is her covering. But if that is true, than verse 6 makes no sense. If a woman is to be punished for not covering, i.e., having hair, then how can that punishment be having her hair shorn? It only works if the covering is something different, something that can be put on and off, i.e., a prayer covering.

Therefore, according to verses 3-7, I cover while I pray and since we are commanded to "pray without ceasing" I wear my covering during the day, especially when I go out. I sometimes go bareheaded at home (migraines, wet hair, etc). Also, I'll take my covering off in the evening as Colin loves to see my hair down. My covering shows that I honour Colin as the head of our household. It is also for modesty, for my hair is my glory and is for my husband and family's enjoyment. It shows the world that I am under my husband's protection and deserving of respect. It shows the world that I am a Christian woman. The standards (or lack thereof) of the world do not apply to me. Wearing a covering does not show that I am opressed or somehow less valuable than men. It shows that I am a woman, completely different than men. I don't have to compete with them or try and fit into a "man's world". I belong in my woman's world, doing the most valuable job God has given me -raising my daughter and caring for my family.

And then there is verse 10:

v10 For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

My prayer covering is a symbol to the angels that I'm an obedient Christian woman. Much like the blood on the Isrealites doors when the angel of death "passed over" in Egypt. It's a sign of obedience, a word that's not popular in today's "me, me, me" society.

I found these two sites very helpful, not help me decide to cover but to help me put my desire into words:


Kimberly said...

I can't wait for part 2! Recently I've been feeling more and more convicted to cover. I'm going to talk with my husband about it again, probably the biggest reason I haven't has to do with what others will think. Most people in our church already think I'm strange, wearing dress/jumpers all the time - Who knows what they all think if I start covering my head!

Kimberly said...

Hubby says I should try covering, the Bible does say too and he said if I am feeling that coviction then I should go for it - I said it didn't have to have any particular style and I suppose it could even be a baseball cap - he disappeared momentarily, and then plopped a baseball cap on my head! Don't worry that won't be my style of choice, I just thought it was funny and I took it as a yes, dear you should go ahead and do this.

Paula said...

Great news Kimberly! I went about it the way I tend to do other things. I didn't say anything, just waited for the reaction. Colin didn't say "no", or "why" and has even complimented some of them.

Kimberly said...

Here is a quick comment so that you'll have my email address. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kimberly said...

I should have added that I am borrowing a little pink calico triangle scarf from one of my girls today, it is a little small, so it is sitting more back on my head and held with clippies. A girl has to start somewhere! As the journey goes, I'll post entries on my blog, I am sure.