I wonder when we stand before God, will the issue be if the beard was long or short, or none at all; of if one sat and did not sit; or did she have a scarf!! Lord help us if we find ourselves with such concerns. I can almost understand why the apostle Paul took the stand he did when questioned about women with their heads covered. In 1 Cor. 11:17 you hear Pauyl say "But in giving this instruction, I do not praise you, because you come together not for the better but for the worse." They came together with a judgmental attitude.
When we focus so much on the 'dill & mint issues" we lose sight of that which Christ Himself felt important: Issues of compassion, righteousness, love and holiness. And these are just a few.
I have witnessed something very interesting in the church - when we move from listening to the Holy Spirit, Holy Scripture and Holy Tradition, we find ourselves fighting over the minutia issues and stop seeking the larger Kingdom picture.
I think of the scripture when Jesus asks: "I pray when I return I find faith." If we are nitpicking one another, where is the faith. The God who has created us, and fashioned us after His image wants us to operate at another level--not pettiness--not bickering--not hassling--not insensitivity--not unloving--not pretentious--not arrogant, but walking in a manner that fully pleases Him.
Oh that the love of God "shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit; may His love in us abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment so that we may approve the things that are excellent in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ." Philippians 1:9
Whether you grow a long beard, or I choose not to wear a scar (knowing that my hair was given to me as my covering)--may Christ find us in oneness, empowered by His Spirit, laying hold of that which Christ Himself has apprehended for us!!!! Let us learn how to love one another, care for one another, and walk in those ways that please our Heavenly Father. May we come to know what He has called us to do, and be found doing it when He returns. May we hold fast to the truths of His Holy Scripture; His precepts and His principals. Hold fast to the writings of the patristic fathers that are consistent with Holy Scripture. May we learn to walk upright before Him, always giving Him praise & thanksgiving for His goodness-His grace-His love-His provision-His care. May we come to know (experientially) Him, for He delights in His people knowing that He is the God who exercises lovingkindness, righteousness and truth in the earth. May we grow to be so sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, that our steps, as well as our stops be ordered by God.
I thank my God in all my remembrance of His people, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for every Christian from every tribe, tongue and nation of people. I pray that we will learn not to judge one another, for Christ is able to help each one of us to stand.
"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever.
Elder Helen Kelley