Houston Ecclesia, Texas, USA
Saturday, January 20, 2001
Our Sisters' Study Group was welcomed into Sis. Rikke's warm and comfortable home on this winter day. Having missed our fall class due to our work on the Sunday School's Choral Program, we were excited to get back to our studies.
Sis. Tracy "Sunshine" went right for the coffee (after hugs), unpacked her book bag, unzipped her Bible and grabbed her camera for the first picture. (I beat her to the flash ;-)
(L-R: Sis. Teresa, Sis. Loanne, Sis. Rikke, Chloe, Bethel,
Sis. Tracy, Shannon, Sis. Billie Jean, and Sis. Sharon)
Bro. Brett took this picture for us. He and son Joshua were home working on a carpentry project in his study installing a long sturdy counter to hold all his computer equipment. Usually the men vanish while we have sisters' class so it was nice to have him in the house, even way in the back of the house. He had come out from the study (tool belt and all) to open our class for us with a prayer, but before we opened, three cameras were passed forward for pictures. He was very patient with us! Thanks Bro. Brett.
Having finished our verse by verse study of 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 in our last class, we began on page 107, "Practical Implications" in the excellent book, Man and Woman, by Bro. Michael Lewis. This section turns to "the practical issues of how these principles are to find expression in our times." Bro. Lewis states and we all agreed that "the principles behind the headcovering are profound and are designed to last from Creation to the Kingdom." The woman's headcovering "in ecclesia" is not a sociological tradition but pertaining to doctrinal practises of all ecclesias to be adhered to until the Lord's appearing.
Having learned the deep beauty and serious principles behind the meaningful symbol of the woman's headcovering, how are we to implement this practice in our ecclesial lives? What exactly do we wear and when do we wear it?
We discussed all types of hats - plain and fancy, scarves, headsquares of lace, veils, colors, decorations, size, etc. We came to the conclusion that the form of our obedience should be something that is evident as a meaningful visible symbol that can be recognized as a covering of the head that is distinctive to women and that serves to veil her glory and not add to it.
When is this token of obedience to be worn? Certainly all the explicit signs (women covered and silent) of the hierarchy between men and women are to be in order when believers are "in ecclesia". That is, when the members of the Body of Christ (the ecclesia) are called to come together into one place to worship, learn and/or be comforted. When men (whom God has given the responsibility of headship) "permit" [turn over to] the women to step out of this order with exposed glory and voice, it is a "shame" [or deformity] in the body.
Our discussion returned to the false theory that a woman's own natural hair is sufficient for her natural and spiritual covering. If this were so why would Paul devote all of the account in 1 Cor. 11:1-16 to instructing women to wear hair? Would women know to wear a second spiritual cloth covering over their head and natural hair of glory without this instruction? And why would Paul conclude with the warning that there should be no contention in the ecclesias about this command for a spiritual covering? Who would be contentious about a command to wear hair, and who could even tell any difference between believer, unbeliever, in ecclesia, in the temple of idols, in the streets, at home, etc.?
We had the best discussion yet on this subject. We have all been richly blessed by the depth and beauty of the spiritual principles relating to the woman's headcovering in the ecclesia.
The discussion was so good that even "the daughters" had a few good questions. What a special opportunity for the young girls to have the Aunties' full attention to listen to and discuss their questions.
Before we left for lunch we all signed a card to go with the soft yellow nursing gown and matching robe that the sisters had purchased for a gift for our Sis. Isabel Luff, who was not able to attend this class as she was home heavy with child. Several of the young and older sisters were fascinated with the fancy design of this "new-fangled" nursing gown. We all examined the strategically placed discrete openings sewn right into the folds in the front of the gown. "Well - if that doesn't beat all - how clever!" It's a shame that in our "modern" society that the older women no longer commonly help out with nursing the babies. (See Ruth 4:16.) Any woman that has been blessed to nurse a baby knows that it takes a short year or so to do, but a lifetime to remember.
Since this was Sis. Rikke's birthday we all went out to one of her favorite resturants, Mamacita's, for Mexican food. It was fun to have Bro. Brett and Joshua join us for lunch.
After lunch we prepared several craft projects for upcoming Sunday School lessons for Sis. Rikke's class. Many of the crafts were taken from the CSSS's "Teacher's Handbook", which is an invaluable source for craft projects. The projects that Sis. Rikke had selected beforehand had been customized and then copied onto white cardstock paper. After the Sunday School lesson is finished, questions answered, homework reviewed, it seems that the time to complete the craft is always running short so it's a real time saver if most of the cutting out work can be done ahead of time. Putting our hands to this work was as much fun as making a quilt together. It also reminded us all how much work Sunday School teachers do weekly. We are so very blessed in our meeting, and our country, to have so many supplies and tools available to us to create special crafts to extend and visualize the Bible lessons for the children. For several weeks now when we see the children file back into the main hall from their Sunday School rooms with their finished crafts in their hands, we all are reminded of this happy afternoon.
Lord willing, our next Sisters' Study Group will be held in the Spring at our ecclesial hall so that afterwards we can do "spring cleaning."
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