1 Corinthians 11:2-16
2 I praise you for being faithful in remembering me. I also praise you for staying true to the teachings of the past. You have stayed true to them, just as I gave them to you. 3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ. The head of the woman is the man. And the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered brings shame on his head. 5 But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered brings shame on her head. It is the same as having her head shaved. 6 What if a woman does not cover her head? She might as well have her hair cut off. But it is shameful for her to cut her hair or shave her head. So she should cover her head. 7 A man should not cover his head. He is the likeness and glory of God. But woman is the glory of man. 8 Man did not come from woman. Woman came from man. 9 Also, man was not created for woman. Woman was created for man. 10 That’s why a woman should have authority over her own head. She should have this because of the angels. 11 But here is how things are for those who belong to the Lord. Woman is not independent of man. And man is not independent of woman. 12 Woman came from man, and man is born from woman. But everything comes from God. 13 You be the judge. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God without covering her head? 14 Suppose a man has long hair. Doesn’t the very nature of things teach you that it is shameful? 15 And suppose a woman has long hair. Doesn’t the very nature of things teach you that it is her glory? Long hair is given to her as a covering. 16 If anyone wants to argue about this, we don’t have any other practice. And God’s churches don’t either.
Paul encouraged women to wear head coverings in worship while men were to remove hats. Both these acts were to symbolise, whether male or female, submission to the ultimate authority – Jesus Christ.
Paul also speaks of the interdependence between men and women. He states that neither man or woman can go it alone. We need each other! Paul also goes onto suggest that neither gender can claim priority. This position belongs to Christ alone.
As a young child I had a “Sunday best” dress for church. It was a dress for special occasions. I also remember that many of the older women who attended church were impeccably dressed and wore hats. Looking back these were outward ways of showing God respect and honour in his house. In comparison we are pretty casual about what to wear to church these days. This passage of Scripture reminds me of the importance of honouring and respecting the authority of Jesus Christ particularly in God’s house. Just because what I’m wearing is casual doesn’t mean my attitude is!
Dear God, help me to submit to the authority of Christ and to give you due honour, Amen.
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods