I would hate to find out that hair is a bigger issue than feeding the poor. Maybe it is. Maybe we have so much anxiety about what is the right thing to do that we get caught up in details.

So…the right thing to do is what Jesus Christ told us to do.  Matthew 28:19…go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…and Luke 6:27…love your enemies. Jesus did not come to remove the law but to fulfill it. And if we are to make disciples and love our enemies, among other things he told us to do, we do it for the love of Him, not out of fear of punishment.

Do those of us called to the tradition of head covering do it out of fear? Do we do it because we are afraid that the Lord will reject us now or at the day of judgment? I don’t think just a headcover is going to save anyone. We wear our hair uncut and our heads covered to serve Him, as a witness, not as a hedge against hell. And that witness needs to be backed up with good behaviour, Christian behaviour, not just rules-keeping and hypocrisy. And the first rule is Love.

A lying, gossiping tongue that does harm, even in the name of good, is not covered by headship. Jesus Christ has no part in a malicious, controlling, spiteful heart. A perfection of dress will not cover that sin! Cleanse your hearts first, before covering your heads. That pristine cap or that beautiful scarf will be a lie if it is not the emblem of your clean heart and soul.

I try to remember that when people see me in my prayer cap and plain dress. Many have gone before me in these clothes, and they wore them humbly and with the grace of God. Why should I betray them and their witness? If this witness is the witness of humility and God’s righteousness, I too must bear that burden, not a spirit of pride and self-righteousness. Hair to your feet and the habit of a nun will not cover a multitude of sins.

Lately I have seen people troubled by gossip, and it is gossip among Christians. Has no one told the offenders that gossip is murder of your neighbour? It is that sinful, that harmful. Gossip keeps your neighbour from living freely amongst her community. It sets up a prison of lies, and forces the victim to leave the community. Yes, it does. It happens all the time. It has happened to me. Gossip slays the love between neighbours and Christians. It is a sword to the heart. No woman under headship should speak ill of her neighbour, or collude to cause another’s pain and isolation. No Christian can remain worthy of His name if she has a sly tongue. She who gossips betrays her headship, and puts her own head to shame, and that shame is not covered by hair or fabric.

Gossip and slander are too often used in traditional and conservative church communities as a means of control. It may be much worse in Christian communities, so-called, than in the general, secular population. This is shame for all Christians, that those of us who claim His name so often do not speak as He taught us. Sister, put a bridle on that tongue, and do not dishonour thy head, who is Christ.

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