I’d like to introduce to you a short campaign that we are running in the parish over the next 6 to 7 weeks about BELIEVING WOMEN and how we value the voices and contribution of women within our church, within scripture, within our society and local community.
Archdeacon Rosemarie Mallett when she was an academic in Africa said that it would be said of women that “they held up more than half of the sky” and she reflects that in churches throughout the world, in Africa and the Caribbean and in this country, women are in the majority of people amongst the worshippers.
“Women are the cleaner and make the tea, they are the ears and the eyes of those who listen to the pastoral needs of the people. Women hold up and maintain so much of what we call the church and so much of what we call family in the church and in so many of those places they’re not in the leadership and somehow amazingly they seem to be made absent in the space in which they are very much present”.
One of the places where women are very much present is of course in our scripture tradition. And so often they are doing the most important work, and so often they are side-lined, put to one side and not taken seriously.
Yet in our Old Testament and the New Testament and especially around our Lord Jesus women are crucial to his mission. Women are the truth keepers; women are the ones who speak truth into power and reality into the lostness of humanity.
I’m glad that the first person that we’re going to think about is Eve and I hope that over the next weeks as we reflect on the strength of power and the purpose of women in scripture, we might also reflect how we hear women and understand their role in scripture, how we value women in the church and how we value women in our own lives.
I know we have work to do here at St John’s and we are committed to this. But at the same time, let us hear afresh what God tells us to scripture of the importance of women speaking truth into a world living in disbelief.
Over the coming weeks we will hear testimonies about Eve, Hagar, Ruth, Esther, The Syrophoenician woman and the girl in the courtyard.
Please join with us in thinking about other women also spoken about in scripture, Mary, Mary and of course Mary.. there are at least another three Mary’s… There’s Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel and Leah, Rahab and Deborah, Hannah, Elizabeth, Martha.
Women form part of a deeply influential group in our scripture tradition, let us not forget them, and neither let us be ignorant to women in our church or community today.