History is written by the conquerors. There are plenty of things I'm not overly comfortable doing; explaining why I wear a bit of cloth on my head is one of them. It is part of an ongoing dialogue with the Lord wherein I roll my eyes a lot, rather like Star, & say things like, "Must I? Do you really mean it?" And the Lord waits patiently until I acquiescence.
See that's the thing when you start getting serious about God. He takes you at your word & it is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the Living God. So the easy answer to your question Rosemary & Ember is I wear a covering because God told me to. So terribly dull of me. The more interesting question is why did God tell me to? We are still working on that one because I am not charismatic. I grew up Anglican, low, not high, without even the whiff of Catholic mysticism about the place & from choice moved in a direction where any mysticism is quiet & reserved & prone to out work in very practical ways. One of the things that drew me to Quakerism was the social conscience. I'm not the sort to dance in the aisles & wave my hands about. Great if that's your thing but I have 2 left feet, no sense of rhythm & can't sing to save my life so, no, not about to make a public spectacle of myself if I can help it.
Quakerism is nice & quiet & there is a lot of emphasis on serving practically. Oops. Not so good at that either but I like the idea. And you know, the island is quiet & very traditional & the only church when we arrived was Anglican. High. Very High. A little strange but whatever. A very nice man came over once a month for the Eucharist & all I ever had to do was remember to turn up on the right Sunday & keep my pew warm for an hour. Suited me fine. God had other ideas.
The Anglicans swore they couldn't send a man out every single week & the very small congregation struggled to survive spiritually from month to month, eventually forming a little community church with other disenfranchised Christians but of course getting a preacher was always going to be a problem & over the years lots of lay people stepped in to do that. At different times I was one of them.
And it was at that point God really started meddling in my life. See, I never thought I was a preacher, not even when I was behind the pulpit "laying down the law with exquisite insolence" as Dorothy L. Sayers so happily put it. The preacher is the man with the dog collar & the black cassock & a PhD in theology. As it turns out I'm right but that is no consolation.
I'll pause here for a little church history because I'm not charismatic & while I believe in the charismatic gifts & have no problem, in theory, with their outworking, it was never part of my religious experience so while tongues is a little obvious & healing is quite dramatic I didn't even recognise my gift, even while exercising it, because the outworking of it can be partly in teaching & preaching & I'm still a little awkward even naming it. Prophesy. There, I've said it. Don't shoot me.
What is prophecy? A prophet is one who speaks for God & the call is usually to repentance, warning of judgement & exclaiming praise. I'm still learning to listen for how, when & to whom I am to speak His word. My responsibility is to catch God's vision for His people, proclaim His message boldly & exhort others to follow Christ ~ which is interesting because I have always said my call is to God's people for the strengthening & upbuilding of the church, rather than to unbelievers. Evangelizing is definitely not my gift. What people do with that message is their responsibility.
Apart from the fact I know what tended to happen to God's prophets & it is not something likely to make me sleep well at night I came from a background where women served tea & bickies & washed the sanctuary linen, not served in a public ministry. Apart from the fact I'm not an extrovert. That's Star. Star likes being in the public eye. Me, I'm the quiet sort. I like the last pew beside the door & I'm not likely to put my hand up for anything.
I was so deeply uncomfortable with this whole experience I went looking through my bible. The Talmud identifies 7 prophetesses: Sarah, Miriam, Devorah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah & Esther. Plus Rebecca, Rachel, Leah & Noadiah but they aren't included amongst the seven for some reason I didn't quite get. When we move into the new testament we get an even longer list starting with Mary & Elizabeth; Anna, the 4 virgin daughters of Phillip....
So what has all this got to do with covering my head?
Like I said, I'm not the brightest spark in the tinder box. When God first started leaning on me I thought it was all about the submission thing, & even a cursory troll through blogland will turn up hordes of women who have rediscovered the covering & are extolling it's virtues. Dearest was horrified & to wear a covering as a sign of submission to my husband when he wasn't in favour of it was so ironic I thought God should get of my case ~ & I told Him so. He didn't. I gave in but still didn't get the point because I still didn't understand how God was leading me.
The answer is in 1 Corinthians 11:5 ~ But every woman praying or prophesying with her head unveiled dishonoureth her head: for it is one and the same thing as if she were shaven. It was only when I got the prophesy bit I understood why the covering. It wasn't that I didn't know this verse; I did. I just didn't make the connection about what I was doing.
Initially the covering was an act of obedience, a gut feeling that this was what God wanted & right but I had no understanding of why. That has changed ~& in some very interesting ways. One of the things I always say is, " Search the scriptures for yourselves & see if these things are true!" It is so important. I have walked out of two churches who couldn't show me from the scriptures where they got their teaching from. I get alarm bells going off like sirens when that happens. Every believer should. When I speak out on such things the covering reminds me not to speak on my own authority. It reminds me I am under the headship of Christ. It reminds me that I need to remember to walk the talk because I am very public even when I don't want to be, even if I think I'm not being observed.
I now mostly cover all the time & I'm sort of used to it. Why, especially as I'm not even in a regular Church any more? Because I can't help myself. [Thanks, God] Invariably people start up religious conversations with me & they'll make some wildly inaccurate observation that I just have to correct!!!! It's as though I'm walking round with a big sign that says: GO ON; ASK ME. Actually the covering in itself seems to do that too. That being the case I need to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that resides in me ~ & as, for me, that is part of the prophetic gift I cover. All. The. Time.