I recently had a certain issue of obedience brought to my attention and it has consumed my thoughts ever since. The reference is to 1 Corinthians 11:10-17 which talks about a woman having her head covered when she prays or prophesies.
I've done a little research so far and it seems there is more than one school of thought. A lot of my confusion comes from the fact that I know not one single woman of God who practices covering her head when she prays. This would mean that, if we are to take these verses literally, I and every mentor, teacher, and sister-in-Christ I know are walking in disobedience. I find that hard to believe.
Many argue that the context of these verses is cultural. I could agree with that except for one little phrase; "because of the angels". One reason women are to cover their heads is because of the angels. Angels are not a cultural "thing". Has something changed with the angels between New Testament times and now that they don't need us to cover our heads? Why do they need us to do that in the first place? I don't really know for sure and I can't find where The Word tells us. I have a hypothesis and it has to do with modesty and the angels' history with human women (Genesis 6:1). It's just a wild guess. I am not a theologian and have never been to seminary so my book knowledge is very limited. I only have The Holy Spirit. Even then, my flesh (in the form of my imagination) can get in the way.
The real issue here is that I do not want to walk in disobedience. We are responsible for what we know and I now know that for some reason having to do with the angels, and as a sign of submission, Paul has instructed women to cover their heads when praying or prophesying. Again, if it was just a cultural command, why are the angels involved? In a practical sense, does this mean that I need to always have a shawl around my shoulders ready to be pressed into service at any moment since I talk to God off and on all day? Do I only need to practice this in church, or just at home...or just in public in general? How is it that I've been a Christian for 17-years and have never felt my prayers or my
relationship with God for that matter, hindered by the lack of head covering? I have never had a pastor's wife practice this either. Questions, questions!
I believe a couple of things in regard to all this. One, we are under grace, not law. Our sins are forgiven and I believe that includes sins of ignorance. Two, God never gives a command without good reason. There is a perfectly good reason why this should be done and it is probably just as relevant today as it was then. Should the fact that it is not practical in today's society have any bearing on whether we obey it or not? I tend to think not. Obedience is not cultural. It is a result of our love for God, regardless of the time or age we live in.
I still have more questions than answers regarding this issue and I am still seeking God regarding my responsibility here. For now, however, I would prefer to err on the side of obedience. I will do my best to cover my head when entering (praying) or speaking from (prophesying) the Throne Room of God whenever possible. I wouldn't be surprised if that's the reason I've been inheriting shawls and scarves over the past few years, when I never owned a one in the past. Much food for thought and I would welcome your insights.