Things we do in Church - Covering the Head - Printable Version
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Things we do in Church - Covering the Head - Fr Simon - 11-07-2010
Following on from last monthâs thoughts on removing shoes for prayer and for holy communion we continue our series of monthly teachings concerning aspects of our Faith and worship â things we do and why we do them; this month women covering their hair. A womanâs hair should be covered to pray in Church and must be covered to receive Holy Communion. Why? Is this something to do with supposed male superiority, with women having lesser Church status? No it most certainly isnât (whatever some men, influenced by their male dominated cultures, may have read into it over the years). Always remember that the very greatest esteemed of all saints, more honourable than the cherubim and incomparably more glorious than the seraphim (her glory is so much greater than the seraphim that you simply canât compare them to her - and just think how glorious they are!) is a womanâ¦ the Blessed Saint Mary, Ever-Virgin and Mother of God. No, this covering of the hair is not to be interpreted in cultural and gender terms as female subservience to males which is to entirely obscure and miss the point of what is going on here. When the bishop leads the celebration of the Divine Liturgy you will see him remove his crown for the Gospel and for the consecration prayers. According to Saint Paul the Apostle, a womanâs hair is the crown of her head, her crowning glory, and as (unlike the bishop) she cannot remove her crown for the Church service, she should cover it instead. For the bishop to remove his crown when he does and for a woman to cover her crowning glory is an act of respect or reverence in the presence of the True King, the King of kings and Lord of lords, our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ. There are head scarves available in our Bournemouth Church so if you ever come without one do please feel free to use one of these.
Having considered shoes last month and head scarves (or hats) this month, before moving on from clothing to other matters in the next newsletter I would add a general comment concerning dress in Church â both men and women should wear clothes appropriate to a place of reverence and worship. Mini-skirts, trendy bare midriffs and low cut tops, for example, would not be considered appropriate. You may think that this is all perfectly obvious and shouldnât need to be said and I would dearly love to agree with you â but having stood there when a woman came forward for holy communion in a tee shirt that was so tight as to be as revealing as the woman in the low cut top who when she bowed showed even more than the man in the ill fitting jeans displayed to those behind him when he bowedâ¦ I donât much care for âbuildersâ cleavagesâ on building sites â I certainly do not expect to encounter them in Church. Sorry if this wording seems blunt but I have learned not to assume that people know what to others may seem obvious.