Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Women's Tales

"Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the Mother of James and the other women with them who told this to the apostles; but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them." Luke 24:10-11

Not very often, but once in a while something extraordinary happens and only women witness it. It ancient times, there were only women around when a child was born. It is possible, very possible that Joseph did not witness Jesus' birth, rather he fetched some local women to help Mary through her pains. It has only been in recent history that doctors helped babies into the world. There are other things that have been the sole propriety of women - like all of the preparations of a body for burial - these were often done exclusively by women. And until recent history, very few men ever found their way into the sacristy of a church if they were not a priest - that was women's work. So when these women return, these faithful, well grounded women return from the grave yard and claim that Jesus is alive...their story is taken as fiction, as an idle tale, as crazy talk. And yet many women, up until recent times, knew more about lifer and death than any man. They had witnessed the miracle of the resurrection and were considered foolish and their story silly.

As we enter into our gathering at General Convention, I am reminded how recently it was that we allowed women on the floor of General Convention. It was even more recently that women came as clergy and even more so as bishops. Throughout our history, the women of the church have been gathering, telling their stories and doing the work of the church. The Triennial meeting continues still and their ministries continue. But their stories are rarely told, although they bear witness to life and death and everyday miracles. May we all give thanks for the mighty and truthful witness of women down through the ages.

who fashioned us all within a woman
and who teased from Mary the son of Man
you are showing us daily the miracles of your love.

Help us this day to listen.
Help us this day to be humble.
Help us to lift up the silent witnesses
the ignored and disenfranchised
the constant loving observers
and the women who have work on our behalf
all along.

May we rejoice in the voices,
smiles, tears, laughter and prophesies
that women speak today.

Give us your heart so that we might hear
the voices outside our hallowed halls.

Give us the courage to invite the stranger in
and the humility to honor them with a mother's love.

In Christ, who first appeared to the women
who were faithful beyond the end, Amen.

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