What I Learned About Head Covering During the Pandemic
It’s gotten pretty cliché to talk about how recent events have thrust us into “unprecedented times” and forced us to conform to a “new normal.” And there is a bit of truth to that. For some of us, the practice of head covering may have been affected along with many other parts of life.
When we were first expected to stay home and church services went online, our whole routine was jostled. For the most part, I cover just at church, so what was I supposed to do now? I had to figure that out. Every Sunday morning, we would settle in to watch the sermon from our living room couch, while the children played quietly on the floor or colored at the nearby kitchen table. In preparation, I would brew some coffee for my husband and I to sip on. When the sermon started, I would put my covering on, even though we were at home. It did make that time feel more special.
Then we got lazy.
I hate to admit it, but Sunday started to get a little too relaxed, without the expectation of having to actually go somewhere. We got up later. We started the sermons in the middle. Then we stopped watching them and began to do other things. I guess that’s not so bad — I mean, we were spending time together as a family, and we were resting. But it wasn’t the same as having fellowship with people at church, and worshiping the Lord with them. I went for several weeks (or was it months?) without once putting on my covering. I can just imagine your horror and disappointment, and I’m not being sarcastic. I disappointed myself a little, too.
I should have been more diligent and committed to observing these important spiritual habits, even under “unprecedented circumstances.” Why? Because head covering is not something I do just so that other people may observe and learn from its visual symbolism. It’s something I do for God.
Head covering also helps me, too. When I don’t cover at least once a week at church — even if it’s online church — I feel like I’m gradually starting to forget something important. It’s like I’m losing touch with it, millimeter by millimeter. I need the tactile reminder that the head covering gives me!
Head Covering and Our Physical Senses
God made us a composite of the spiritual and the physical. Spirit, soul, heart, mind, brain, body: all are wrapped up into one. When God gave us physical symbols like the head covering, I believe He was providing for our need to experience (through our body’s physical senses) connections to His abstract, spiritual truths. He knew we needed something tangible!
One of the things the pandemic has taught us is that we need physical touch. Sitting alone in a room with a screen is not the same as talking with a real person. A heart emoji doesn’t even come close to a warm hug. The physical element is missing. God designed us with community in mind, with interactions that touch at various visceral points.
And so, because of these unprecedented times, it’s easier now than ever before to understand why we need both the physical church (the gathering of believers), along with the God-given physical symbols to be used within the context of that church. And when these things become scarce, at the very least I learned that I need to continue church traditions like head covering at home for my own personal benefit.
But then our church opened up again (with mask & social distancing requirements).
A New Way of Head Covering at Church
How do you wear a head covering with a mask? I had to learn something new. At first, I hesitated going back to church too soon. I had a newborn to care for, plus a diaper bag to carry, a coat to wear, and a head covering and mask to finagle. It felt overwhelming. Eventually, I just took the dive, figuring that it couldn’t be that bad — and even if it was, it would be over in an hour and a half.
Turns out, it was great! Going back to church after months of staying home was like visiting the beach after hours in the car. The fresh breeze and crash of waves make you feel alive. I felt like something dormant had come back to life in me when I was able to worship God in the presence of other people again. I hadn’t realized until then how much I’d really missed it. And wearing both a head covering and a mask wasn’t as difficult as I had dreaded it would be.
My first day back at church, I wore an infinity scarf and a mask. It worked out okay. I was tempted to just pull the scarf up in front of my face, too, but then I realized it made me look like I was from another religion, so I decided against that.
Then I tried another way of wearing a mask. I used my stretchy, infinity tube-scarf from Walmart, with a bun. Instead of hooking the loops of the mask over my ears, I connected the loops to a special ear-saver bow that my daughter made, which I placed on top of the bun, over my scarf. This way, I could put the mask on and take it off without having to readjust my head covering. This new method of putting the mask on over the scarf worked pretty well!
Above, I hooked the mask loops directly onto the ear-saver bow. Below, I used some elastic hairbands (one on each side) to extend the mask loops a little, making them less tight.
Of course, going forward from here, only God knows how the upcoming months and years will affect our lives and possibly require “new and creative solutions” to living out the Christian life in a “changing world.” Don’t you love all the clichés? Really, though, we can do this. Along with everything else God asks us to obey, we can continue the timeless practice of head covering. It’s still there, and it’s still important. That’s one thing I’ve learned from the pandemic.
How have you been continuing to head cover during this time? Are there any neat tricks you’ve found for wearing a head covering with a mask? And are there any spiritual truths that have been re-emphasized to you, thanks to “our changing world”? We would love to hear your feedback!
Here are some links to headcoverings with sewn-on buttons for attaching a mask, which you might be interested in: