Posted by: Timothy | April 7, 2010

A Silent Witness

     Have you ever had something happen to you, or had someone cross your path in life that put a big smile on your face? Something that made you, either silently or audibly say “Thank You, Jesus!” An event that made you realize that you had just met another child of God.

      About two years ago on an afternoon that I had gotten off work early I was meandering around my local Wal-Mart, when I ran across two individuals that made me smile, and praise God. The one was an older lady in a modest grandmotherly type dress and her hair up in a fashion that you might have seen on the streets of Mayberry. Accompanying her was a younger twenties something gal in a jumper type dress with her hair pulled back in a single braid. And what I’ll call for the sake of writing was the crowning touch was a very noticeable head covering on each of them. A thick, crocheted ‘you cannot miss it’ type, that reminded me of the church I grew up in, during my youth.

      But wait a minute, I was in Fort Worth, Texas that day, and while the church I grew up in was holding services locally, these ladies I knew were not affiliated with the church of my youth. Could it be possible that there was another group of believers that believed and lived their lives similar to the way I was raised?

      I debated with in myself for several moments, while observing from a distance, as to whether I would approach them and inquire, or whether my ‘shyness’ of my youth would reign supreme for that incident, and I would walk away. Well, that day curiosity did kill the cat.

      “Excuse me, can you tell me where you go to church?” were the words that came out as I approached them. While I spoke no Spanish, the younger one interpreted to the older one as I shared how in my youth I attended and was a member of a church, where the sisters dressed modestly as they but also wore head coverings as they were that day.

      As it turned out, up the street they told me of the church they attended. Soldiers of the Cross of Christ, International, was the name and I was familiar with it in a sense that I had driven past it many times.

      As we parted that afternoon, they invited me to church that Sunday evening for a church singing. “I’ll keep that in mind”, I told them, thinking that I might actually overcome a bit of hesitancy that I have about visiting churches where I know no one.

     That was until I drove past the church on the way home. As I approached the church, my heart dropped as I saw the sign. It was in Spanish! Now I’m just an average middle aged white guy from Middle America and learning Spanish has never on my top ten to do list. And attending a church I had never visited before, especially where they spoke Spanish made me stop and go, Hmmmm.

      I never did visit that Sunday night. I still fondly remember that incident when I met those two, yeah, Sisters.

      So fast forward to Thursday night July 6th, I’m once more heading to the same Wal-Mart to pick up supplies for a trip. As I drive in I’m mentally composing a letter to a Pentecostal friend in Maryland thanking her for her visible Christian witness. Why I’m thinking of this I’m unsure, but as I walk in the thought crosses my mind. “I wonder if…?”

      As I pick up my things and head up to the check out, I run across a young Hispanic gal in a fairly long jean skirt and a modest top. That’s unusual, I thought, considering how a lot of young kids dress today. That was unusual until I saw her go up to her father and mother. Her father was clean cut, jeans and a shirt, and her mother in a jean skirt also, and she had her hair in a pony tail, and… (Drum roll please)…and a head covering.

 A Silent Witness.

 I smiled, and quietly said “Thank You, Jesus!”

      A few moments pass as I contemplate approaching them and asking if they attend the church up the street, like the two afore mentioned sisters. Upon observing the father on his cell phone, I turn and head to the check out, again thanking God, feeling uplifted and encouraged.

      For some of you reading this; you be a little disturbed, confused as to why something like this encourages me, and even still you might think I’m being a little legalistic, thinking that I believe all Christian women need to be in dresses, with their hair up and a head covering on. Others of you will understand completely.

      Let me explain. I was raised in a traditional ‘holiness type’ church, (minus speaking in tongues). The reason it was considered a ‘holiness’ type church I believe is because of the emphasis on personal holiness.

 “for it is written ‘Be Holy, because I am Holy’ “           1 Peter 1:16          (Leviticus 11:44)

“… You ought to live holy and godly lives…”              2 Peter 3:11

      One of the things that made the church unique was that the sisters in the church were attired in dresses/skirts, with their hair up in a bun or some sort of fashion, and a head covering. How you saw them on Sunday morning, was probably close to how they looked through out the week.

      While I currently attend a Bible Church, and am no longer a member of the church I was raised in, and became a Christian in, I still appreciate, love and admire the convictions, beliefs and traditions of that denomination. Today I can be encouraged, when visiting one of the towns that has a congregation, and see a lady from the church, and know that she is my Sister in Christ based on her appearance.

      On the flip side of the coin are three Christian women I know here in Texas. A red head from San Antonio, an American born Chinese gal from North Richland Hills and a transplanted Yankee that lives in Richland Hills. Not one of these wears a dress daily, or their hair up, and they don’t wear a head covering, but yet I know for a fact that these three, are sincere Christians. Truthfully in some of my conversations with these three, I feel at times they are more sincere in their beliefs and convictions than I am.

      If you are reading this and feel I am judging you and the way you wear your hair, as a Christian, I am not. I am writing about what is an encouragement to me. I judge no one as I am not worthy. However I will tell you what the Bible says. In 1 Corinthians 11, it says a woman should have long hair and her head needs to be covered when she prays. It does not say she needs to wear it in a bun and have a crocheted “doily” on top. Some churches believe that the hair is her covering; others believe that a covering needs to be something additional.

      If ten years ago you would have put me in a position where I knew none of these six women and told me to pick out the ones that I thought were a Christian, because of my raising, I would have picked the first three mentioned in this writing. Truth be known, I probably would not have picked my Bible church pastors wife either.

      If you’re a Christian female, I want you to know I love you as my sister in Christ regardless of how you wear your hair. If you happen to be one of the ones that wear it in a manner whereby a head covering is also present, I appreciate your “Silent Witness” and encourage you to continue to be such. Many times a ‘silent witness’ speaks louder and stronger than a sermon with many words.

 I look forward to the next time of being encouraged by a “Silent Witness”

By Timothy Stoller
                On July 7, 2006

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