Head coverings: It’s All About the Glory
Okay, I admit it. I’m somewhat like a terrier with a bone when I’ve got an idea. And the idea that I’ve been sussing out all summer is head coverings. I wrote on it. I’ve had multiple discussions on the subject. I know what I believe Scripture teaches about them. I know why I wear one. And I’m pretty settled in my mind as to when I should wear a head covering.
So why am I not letting go of this idea? What is there still to cover? (pun not intended, but, hey, it works.)
The aspect that I’ve been praying over and digging into is the idea of glory.
God’s glory. Jesus Christ’s glory. A woman’s glory. Veiled glory.
High renown or honor won by notable achievements; magnificence or great beauty, a thing that is beautiful or distinctive; a special cause for pride, respect, or delight.
It’s a truth held to be pretty self-evident: a woman’s glory is her hair. This fact is reinforced by the amount of time and money spent maintaining and styling our hair. Those dollars and hours add up to roughly $80 and 11 hours per month. Astonishingly, the average woman will drop $55,000 in a lifetime on hair products and treatments. (source)
I’m also reminded of when Anne of Green Gables meant to dye her hair black, but it turned green. “I never thought I was vain about my hair, of all things, but now I know I was, in spite of it being red, because it was so long and thick and curly.”
Or like Amy in Little Women…”Jo, your one beauty!” when Jo cut off her hair to sell.
It may be a love-hate relationship, but most women are quite attached to their hair.
Four and a half years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with retinoblastoma. It’s an eye cancer. Over the course of her chemotherapy, almost all of her hair fell out. She was never bald as a cue ball, but, only wisps remained from her pre-chemo hair.
While losing her eye has farther reaching consequences than temporary hair loss, losing her hair is what broke me. (Seeing the old photos still makes me teary-eyed.) I knew her hair would grow back. But, in those moments, it was a very visible reminder of what we’d been through, and what she’d lost.
She’d literally lost her glory-this thing of pride, beauty and delight. She was (thankfully) mostly oblivious.
Meredith and I now volunteer for a charity that provides salon services, wigs and head coverings, for women and girls going through cancer treatments. As I interact with these women it is so obvious: when a woman loses her hair, she feels like she has lost a vital part of herself. She feels she has lost her dignity. Her beauty. Something feminine and distinctive to her.
She’s lost her glory. And it’s a devastating loss.
When I wrote the article this summer outlining four reasons a woman covers her head, the second reason I gave was, “covering.” We cover our hair because it’s our glory.
I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other…(Isaiah 42:8)
The only glory that should be focused on and visible in church is God’s. Nothing should distract or detract from that.
God’s glory is more along the lines of the first definition. High renown or honor won by notable achievements. His glory is also positional. There is the glory of His presence. There is the glory of being the one and only God of the universe. He is the Creator, the Redeemer, the Judge. Without a doubt, God’s glory is also beautiful and distinctive.
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature. (Hebrews 1:3 ESV)
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 ESV)
And as He was praying, the appearance of His face was altered, and His clothing became dazzling white…but when they became fully awake they saw His glory. (Luke 9:29, 32 ESV)
And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light. (Matthew 17:2 ESV)
Isaiah said these things because he saw His glory and spoke of Him. (John 12:41 ESV)
…I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up….Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory. (Isaiah 6:1,3 ESV)
He had no form or majesty that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. (Isaiah 53:2 ESV)
I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work that You gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory I had with you before the world was. (John 17:4, 5 ESV)
Evident from these verses is the basic theology that Jesus is God and thus shares and reveals God’s glory. But, when Jesus Christ was walking and talking on earth, the fullest extent of His glory was not visible. It was only as He was transfigured, that a select few had a glimpse of His glory. Rather like Isaiah.
Jesus’ full glory was veiled in His incarnate body. It was not visible to the human eye.
I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work that You gave me to do.
Jesus Christ was not here for His own glory. He was here to do God’s will.
Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.Hebrews 10:7 ESV
But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.John 12:27-28 ESV
Jesus Christ voluntarily covered His glory with a human body, while He was on earth, in order to do the will of God, and bring glory to God. The focus was always God, not Himself.
Now that’s an example to follow.
Are you tracking with me? Do you see why this covered glory in the local church is such a glorious picture?
Jesus covered His glory.
Why are we so concerned about covering our hair? Why do we balk at this?
It’s natural for us to want to cover our shame. Think Adam and Eve in the garden. It is counterintuitive to cover our glory. We’d much rather show it off.
As women, we follow in Christ’s footsteps, when we cover our glory in the church meetings. No matter how glorious our hair, and maybe because of how glorious our hair, we conceal it. There really is no competition between our glory and God’s glory. Our glory is temporary hair. His glory is eternal. But, in the picture, in the practice, we are eliminating distractions.
The only glory to be seen is God’s.
Whether a command or tradition, voluntary or compulsory practice, women still choose to mirror Christ’s example, when they cover their glory.
It’s a higher purpose and calling. It’s a powerful truth. It’s more than just covering. It’s walking in the steps of Christ. And we are always in good company when we choose to imitate Christ.
And that’s what’s important to grasp. And that’s why I’ve spent all summer pondering this subject.