A week or so ago I picked up a book to read just as I went to bed. It was designed to turn my mind off from a host of matters that were spinning around in my head and ease me into sleep. Nice idea but it was the wrong book to do this. I started reading the old classic by John Bunyan called ‘Pilgrim’s Progress’. The opening sentences enticed me in, and soon I was so caught up in what I was reading that my heart was pounding. So much for sleep! What I was reading was disturbing! My mind raced to and fro as I contemplated what Bunyan was trying to warn me as the reader. Bunyan is a brilliant writer who has incredible insight into the ways and teachings of God. I was confronted with the fact that God is holy and I am unholy! I was reminded that a time is coming when judgement will prevail. Bunyan describes a man, who is also a husband and father, who is confronted by a holy God and his personal sin. His name is Christian and he reminds me of ‘me’! Pilgrim’s Progress describes the great adventure Christian goes on to find a solution for his sin. What comes across over and over again is God’s holiness and his disdain for sin. Yet, God is a God of love and mercy and provides a way for Christian to ease his pain. But it is a costly journey and it addresses the great issues of life.
I share this with you as we move into a very difficult passage of Scripture this morning. It is imperative that we be in a right relationship with God as Christians and members of His church family. God’s ways are sometimes difficult for us to accept and understand. Yet, His ways are of critical importance if we are to be a people who are to enjoy Him and bring glory to Him. It all has to do with accepting His order of things. It starts at Creation with the way God ordered humanity. Paul takes us back to the creation of man and woman to help us in our understanding of God’s hierarchical design for humanity. Paul teaches that this hierarchy applies to the functioning of the local church family.
Paul also teaches on a matter that is very specific to Corinthian culture at that time. It has to do with women being required to have their head’s covered during times of public worship. This was the custom and Paul was of the opinion that this practice should continue in the Corinthian church. Of course, times have changed and culture is now very different to then. The principle here though is that we all need to make sure our heart is in the ‘right place’ as we come to worship God whether we are male or female. What flows from the heart is what is of critical importance. Are we prepared to submit to God’s ways and teachings, or are we too proud to humbly bow down to Him on His terms? This is food for thought as we consider this rather obscure part of Scripture this morning.