My blogging journey from the beginning for those who are interested. Each week I will include one of those original blogs from Martin Scott’s Perspective site. February 4th 2010 and the blogging began. Never did this before, but what therapy, what a joy, what a chronicling of a journey that never ends. In many ways things have developed, but it is good to see where we come from to appreciate where we are. All in the healing. Enjoy or endure…
Who is your covering?
What is it with our obsession with who we are submitted to or who/what our covering is? As long as we are answerable to someone then that seems to keep people happy, even if we reel off a list of names or organisations they’ve never heard of. As long as some human being can speak into our lives or correct us then that seems to be a qualifier for being a kosher Christian. If you are not part of a denomination or apostolic group or in some form of hierarchical relationship structure you are considered a loose canon, and should therefore be put out to pasture and ignored because you are obviously too rebellious and answerable to no one. Where do we get this all from scripturally? Is it really such an issue? Does it really make me more prone to error because I have no organised authority structure over my life? When you see the amount of adultery, money grabbing, error ridden people/’ministries within organised denominations and authority structures I do not think so. It is easy for me to say I am a friend of Martin Scott or part of the Assemblies of God, but that does not guarantee I will not go off the rails. It may appease somebodies concerns, or even encourage their concerns, but this is not what submission or covering is all about surely.
One of the most abused words in Scripture. Wives submit to your husbands, do what they want you to do. Serve them, feed them, look after them, have sex with them, submit. Young people submit to your elders, children obey your parents. Do exactly as they say, don’t question them, even if it is potentially harmful to your life, submit.
Yet Scripture talks of a mutual submission and it must be in cooperation with another vital ingredient, without this abuse and control is too often the net result.
“all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility.” 1 Peter 5:5
A mutual submission and in humility. Humble interpersonal relationships lived out under the mighty hand of God. And relationship must be key, without it there is no reality anyway. For years I lived under the banner of the Assemblies of God. I was trained in their Bible College, pastored two of their churches, was ordained and had my name in the yearbook, went along to regional business meetings and signed to say I agreed with the tenants. Now I had my covering. The Assemblies of God had another minister. After a period of about ten years here in Wales I thought about this accountability structure and realised it was just that a structure with zero relationship. The only time I heard from anyone in the Region was when the church had not paid the fee or I did not attend the monthly meeting. No one was interested in my family, how I was feeling inside or wanted to just go to a gig or a football match with me. There was no relationship at all outside the organised structure. How can there be mutual submission there? Was I any better off because my name was in their handbook than I am now with no organised structure around me? At least now I know who my friends are!!!
One day I saw something in Scripture that changed my thinking on Spiritual covering. Adam and Eve were in the garden walking in the cool of the day with God-paradise. Suddenly disaster, they ate from the forbidden tree. Their eyes were open and they felt shame, they were naked. They tried to make their own coverings, they tried to cover up. When God came they hid. When it comes to hide and seek God is a professional, He knows where we are all the time, but He wants us to confront and face that fact. Adam and Eve are found, they make excuses, the hole they are digging gets deeper. The result, consequences. But then something profound happens, God makes a covering for them out of animal skins. Blood is shed for the first time. A sign of what is to come, the shedding of blood for an amazing cover up. God provides the covering for a people who carry shame. Their spiritual covering by the shedding of blood.
Noah has been a man of faith. He has just walked in obedience by building an ark in the middle of nowhere. Has survived the journey with the animals, wife and kids, all locked up for more than 40 days (that was just the rain days.). On finally landing and getting grounded Noah seems to grow a vineyard just like Cliff Richard. He goes on a bender and ends up drunk. Ham walks in to find his father naked. The first thing he does is go outside and spread the gossip about him. Shem and Japheth take things differently, they are not impressed with the gossip. They walk in the tent backwards and carry in a garment. They put the covering over their father, they did not see his nakedness. Guess who received the fathers blessing that day. This is spiritual covering. The great cover up.
Love….true Spiritual covering
“And above all things have fervent love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins.” 1Peter 4:8
Peter quotes from Proverbs about what I believe is true Spiritual covering. Love. Without it there can be no covering. With it I am totally covered. It can only come through relationship that is cultivated and true. It can only come through friendship. It can only come through respect and companionship and walking together. It is not about just dwelling with like-minded people, but about dwelling with like-spirited people. People who love. People who look to pick up rather than pull down. People who want to gather rather than gossip. And to top it all the covering comes with blood. The blood of the perfect sacrifice. The blood of a love that covers a multitude of sins. True spiritual covering.
Next time someone asks who you are submitted to or who/what is your covering just say I am mutually submitted to and covered by those who love me. People of relationship and journey. And totally covered by God. The true love that covers…and covers a multitude of sins.