Already while I was away the work began on the expansion of our humble little Emmaus Hill School. Two new classrooms are underway and will hopefully be completed in good time before the 2012 school year starts at the beginning of January. The funds for the iron sheets were a donation from the CLC Kinship fund, the timber once again was donated from the farm of Anna Sagala. Eric Sagala made use of his trusty Massey-Ferguson tractor to transport the timber up to the construction site. The workman who had overseen the construction of the church building and the previous school building was also heading up this project. Marie has coordinated much of the work and the labor, furnishings, and all things in between come from the contributions that many have selflessly given to the ‘Moi’s Bridge Mission Fund.’ This team effort will prepare the school for the next two years. The standard 3 grade level will move into one of the two new classrooms, leaving one classroom to spare for the expansion in 2013 when the school will open its enrollment up to standard 4. Right now we request your prayers for rain so we can get started on building the walls of the new double classroom building. With enough rain, we can avoid the added cost of transporting water up to the construction site in order to make enough mud for the walls.
In other news, the progress of the well project is at a standstill right now. The land has been properly registered and all the hoops have been jumped through in order to even be considered for the project. Now we are awaiting a response from a drilling company to send someone out to survey, find the proper place for drilling, and give an estimate on the project cost. I don’t imagine that this will be completed by the end of the year, but you never know.
On the church front, we are in good shape to finish our congregational study of the small catechism by December. Many have commented that this has been a wonderful opportunity to cover many teachings of the Bible and have their own study materials to take home and make us of. One of our Sunday School students, a 6th grade girl, was baptized last week in our worship service. Her parents have not been with her, she’s come to this church on her own and finally received their permission to be baptized. She couldn’t have been more elated, receiving this gift from her great God and Savior. After the service she couldn’t wait to take her certificate home and share the news.
I’ll begin midweek meetings once again with our two seminary students, the president of our congregation, and the Sagalas with our additional Bible study and prayer time. We sometimes have other visitors to these gatherings as they are held in different locations each week making it easier for some to make the trip.
Veiling or Headcovering for Women
This custom is different in different places. In our CLC-USA the women generally do not wear something on their head in the worship service. In NCLC the women generally do. In the BELC and CLCI the women generally wear a shawl over their head.
“… some have concluded that God wants women to wear head-coverings when they worship in the presence of men. They believe this conclusion follows from the teaching of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16. However, the wearing of a veil in Corinth conveyed a meaning within Graeco-Roman culture that is not conveyed in American culture. It was a cultural phenomenon (“judge in yourselves”—vs. 13). To them, the veil symbolized a woman’s submission to male authority (vs. 10). The removal of the veil symbolized a woman’s rejection of male authority, and was equivalent to the shameful practice of shaving the head—an act done by women of ill-repute (vs. 5-6). Since the symbolism of the veil in Corinthian culture was in harmony with the abiding principle of female submission to male leadership, Corinthian Christians were admonished to conform to the cultural practice.
The application of this injunction is that Christians, who find themselves in cultures today where a particular cultural symbol undergirds an abiding biblical principle, should conform to that cultural propriety. Head coverings have no such significance in American culture, and vary throughout the world (cf. Genesis 24:65; 29:25; 38:14-15; Song of Solomon 4:1,3; 6:7). If Paul intended for veils to be enjoined upon all Christian women in all cultures for all time, then three conclusions follow: a hat is no substitute; veils must be worn outside the worship assembly as well; and those who refuse must be urged to shave their heads.” (from apologeticspress.org
In the OT we have some precedent for the custom of a veil or covering of the head. In Gen. 24:65 Rebekah shows her submission to Isaac by covering herself.
In the NT in I Cor. 11:2-16 Paul goes back and forth between enduring principle and customary practice at that time. Notice that while footwashing has another reference in the NT, there is none for headcovering. Does silence speak louder than words? In v.2 the “traditions” παραδόσεις certainly refer back to what Paul has given so far in his teaching. The question is, how much of what follows is binding always or an application then. The word παραδόσεις has 13 uses in the NT. This plus two others indicate matters that are binding. IThess. 2:15,3:6 The other ten uses of the “giving over or handing down” we can tell by the context are not binding. When it refers to the “traditions of the elders” or in two of Paul’s uses “traditions of my fathers” Gal.1:14, “tradition of men” Col. 2:8 are the other ten.
In v.3 we have divine order or principle. This is for all men παντὸς ἀνδρὸς. We read of this in Gen. 3:16 and in Eph.5:23 that the head of a woman is her husband.
In v.4 we have practice then as it is not taught either backwards or forwards in the Word. It is not taught elsewhere with corroborating passages.
In vv.5-7a we also see it is customary practice then for the same reasons. A veil can be a fine symbol as with Rebekah of submission. Again with the analogy of Scripture, where else is a piece of clothing prescribed?
In vv.8-9 Paul makes reference to that which cannot change.
In v. 10 he then applies this to the present situation after looking back at the divine order. The “authority” ἐξουσίαν we see in what a woman covers her head with as a sign of authority over her. I readily admit I do not know what “because of the angels” means except that the angels witness everything. But we have to base what we teach on clear passages and let the clear explain the less clear.
In vv.11-12 there is no question that we have fact and ongoing principle because this refers back again to creation.
In v. 13 we have practice enjoined in the context of worship. A headcovering is so as not to offend. V.16 also indicates the context of “among the churches.”
In vv.14-15 Paul also emphasizes the point with nature as a general rule.
In v. 16 Paul says that this is a “custom” συνήθειαν among the churches. This word is only used here and in Jn.18:39 where there was a custom to release a prisoner at the passover. In Jn.18 the word’s use we would say is a practice at that time and place. It seems that it is also such here. There is no command in a NT continuation or evidence of continuation. At times Paul’s words may seem strong here as if to command beyond that time a veiling. But then look at the resultant letter from the council in Jerusalem in its strong wording, “It has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater “burden” βάρος than these “necessary things” ἐπάναγκες τούτων… Acts 15:28 And three of the four we don’t do today. The context of the letter was so as not to offend the Jewish background. The context of I Cor. 11:2-16 is so as not to offend the Greeks. Corinth was a problem- plagued congregation which we see from the first letter. Paul goes into fine detail to clear things up. We go into fine detail to separate principle from practice.
And just compare the first section of chapter 11 with the second section on communion.