Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God. – 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (ESV)
One of the greatest joys and privileges that we have as God’s people is to gather in the power of the Holy Spirit, in the name of Jesus in order to worship the Triune God. Corporate worship should therefore reflect the truth that our chief end to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. As Paul had just finished telling the Corinthians, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” From the beginning of chapter eight right through to 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul has been applying this axiom about pursuing God’s glory to the challenge of idolatry. With today’s passage he shifts to applying it to right worship within the Church. As we will see in the coming weeks, Paul is very concerned that the Church in Corinth be marked out by unity in the Holy Spirit. After all, having been accepted in Jesus Christ each of us has equal standing before God and each of us belongs to each other in His family. Yet, not any old approach to equality will do. There is the apparent equality achieved by Mao Zedong when all of the Chinese were required to wear the identical simple and drab clothing. There is the equality of everyone being forced to play the same musical instrument. But neither of these is God’s idea of unity. From the life in the Garden of Eden before sin to life in the New Heavens and the New Earth, God has created and redeemed His people to have the unity of an orchestra. We all play different parts and together we become something far more interesting and beautiful than we could ever be on our own. That is the way it is with gender as well. God made us male and female so that the genders would complement each other. Let each of us embrace what God has created and redeemed us to be. The LORD loves this sort of diversity and so should we.
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 18
Q. 18. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell consists in the guilt of Adam’s first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it.