Sunday, 28 October 2012

Coverings - the reasons why

One of the things the Amish are known for is their distinctive way of dressing, in particular what they wear on their heads – a little white cap, made in a lightweight fabric in white, black, or sometimes navy blue, known as a covering, a prayer covering, or sometimes, the headship veiling.
Since the Amish are so keen not to draw attention to themselves, there surely has to be some reason why they would wear something like a covering which only seems to serve to get them noticed. So why do they wear them? Is it just cultural? Or is there something deeper? Has the church today missed something, or has the covering been rightly discarded as irrelevant to modern Christian life?
Over the next couple of posts, we will explore the custom, if it can be called that, of coverings, the reasons for wearing them and the reasons Christains today who are not Amish give for not wearing them.
To begin with, we need to take a look at the particular verses from the Bible which speak of coverings one’s head:
1 Corinthians 11v2-16 (NKJV)

"Now I praise you, brethren, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I delivered them to you. But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonours his head. But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonours her head, for that is one and the same as if her head were shaved. For if a woman is not covered, let her also be shorn. But if it is shameful for a woman to be shorn or shaved, let her be covered. For a man indeed oufgt not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man. For man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but the woman for the man. For this reasonthe woman ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, neither is man independent of woman, nor woman independent of man, in the Lord. For as woman came from man, even so man also comes through woman; but all things are from God.

Judge among yourselves. Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonour to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her; for her hair is given to her for a covering. But if anyone seems to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor do the churches of God."
We will look further at what the Amish believe in future posts. In the meantime, what are your views on this passage? Is it for today, or was it something cultural for Paul’s day only? Do you think the Amish practice of wearing a covering is outdated, or quaint and oldfashioned, or is it a vital part of their faith?

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