Friday, July 4, 2008

The Glory of Man

1 Cor. 11:3-16 (ESV)
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. [4] Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, [5] but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as if her head were shaven. [6] 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. [7] 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. [8] For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. [9] Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. [10] That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. [11] Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman; [12] for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God. [13] Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? [14] Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, [15] but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. [16] If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

I don’t know much about the practice of wearing head coverings in ancient Corinth. I think people probably miss the point in concentrating on whether or not a woman should wear a hat to church, or a man should take his hat off, and not grow long hair. But considering what is written here you do wonder if Jesus really would have had long hair, or if the apostle Peter would wear a miter or any other funny cap during the Church service. However, I wouldn’t want to push any of that too far. Most likely Paul is using a local custom as an example that illustrates a greater point. It is very likely that hats or no hats meant different things in different areas. In Sparta, long hair was a symbol of glory for the men. But the greater point is not very politically correct anymore. Yet no matter how much we cringe... it is still true.
The head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God. It sets up an order of authority, a chain of command. And Christians do well to remember this even if we all have equal standing before God. Now, obviously, there are limits to a husband,s headship. He has no right to force a wife to do something against God’s command. We all owe God allegiance before man. But the issue here was women who were dishonoring and shaming their husbands with their actions, and putting their husbands to shame. We’ve all seen that happen in one way or another I’m sure, hen pecking, nagging and the like. It doesn’t ever seem to work, the man usually just withdraws even more, as the woman tries to usurp his role. I think most men and women are saddened at the sight of a hen pecked man. If there is mental abuse, that definitely qualifies. What the wife doesn’t often realize is that the woman in dishonoring and shaming her husband is dishonoring and shaming herself as well. She won’t get what she wants from her husband in such a manner. As a husband that abuses his wife abuses himself and never gets what he wants from her either. So Paul reminds us that the woman is the glory of man, was made from man, and was created for man.
Created for man, man can’t thank God enough for this gift. Nothing is more precious in a man’s life than a good wife. A wife who honors, and loves her husband is definitely the glory of a man. The love and honor will be returned, and it will make for a happier relationship all the way around. For we are no longer independent, man and woman need each other in this world. So we have no room for contentiousness in the church. Both chauvinism and feminism need to be kept in check. We need to learn to love and honor each other under God, and at his direction.


Es ist das Heil said...

Well done!!

Ashley Willoughby said...

Well said Pastor. This is a tough couple of verses for some but I think you explained it nicely.