tirsdag 20. desember 2016

“Everyday exhortations”

The ‘everyday exhortations’ in today’s verses are typical examples of “everything else”, which was the focus of yesterday’s reflection. In these verses Paul presents challenges both for men and women, and it is about behaviour:
I will therefore that men pray in every place, lifting up pure hands, without anger and contention. In like manner women also in decent apparel: adorning themselves with modesty and sobriety, not with plaited hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly attire, but as it becometh women professing godliness, with good works.
1 Tim 2:8-10
In the antique era, it was common practice to lift the hands towards heaven in prayers. Pure hands were associated with innocence (1), and the act of lifting hands in prayer was in itself considered pure and a sign of blessing (2).

In the pious tradition, the concept of “Godliness with austerity” was a virtue highly valued. Since all people are of equal value to God, the women were challenged to “adorn themselves with modesty and sobriety”. The same principal is a primary reason for uniform-wearing in the Salvation Army. Originally it was a cheap outfit that everyone could afford, and to wear jewellery together with uniform, was unthinkable – because jewellery was a sign of wealth.

As a young soldier in the Salvation Army, my grandma bought a new hath decorated with a beautiful feather. She came to a meeting in casual clothes wearing her new hat. During the first song a female officer came down from the platform and cut of the feather with a pair of scissors. Fortunately, a lot has changed over the past 70 years, but even today there is a danger that the less important become more important than the most important.

‘Manna’ for today:
What is the most important?
(1) e.g. Pilate washed his hands. Matt 27:24
(2) See: Psalm 134

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