Thursday, December 13, 2012

Women Reporting the News by Linda Maynard

Did you ever feel that the Lord is just chuckling as He watches you?

I do.

I had, with reservation, started to go to a Women’s Bible Study. This was still all new to me. I wasn’t sure about it all and was suspicious. Were they were going to lead me down a heretical path? Surprisingly, the Bible Study was interesting. So far so good.

My friend, Linda knew that I was going to ask Jesus into my heart, on a certain morning. I went to a Christian Women’s Breakfast. However, He told her not to go, as she would “get in the way.” I remember, on the drive home, I wept deeply, realizing just how much I was loved.

It was another huge step in the progression of my faith journey.

Shortly later, she invited me to another Christian Women’s Breakfast. I agreed as I was feeling more comfortable.

The first event, I would liken to a Women’s Tea. Everything was lovely, from the table decorations to the conversations.

This new one was different.

It was a Charismatic group.

My fears were heightened.It was a little nerve wracking talking to strangers, but it started OK.

Then things started to get totally out of hand, as far as I was concerned.

It became time for Praise and Worship.

We all stood.

The songs they sang were unfamiliar. They were not singing Agnus Dei.

The tempo started out lively AND many women were clapping!

To make matters worse, when the music got slower, some even raised their hands!

“Oh boy, this is a cult. I am sure of it.” I thought

I thought “Get me out of here!”

I felt I stepped into a strange place or was it a place with strange people?

I was ready to run out of the room and drive home. The problem was, I was not driving.

When that was over, I was never so glad to be seated again. At least I wasn’t going to pass out from fright.

The speaker was a Preacher from England. His tone and his manner calmed me down.

His sermon was about the women who arrived first, at the tomb of Jesus, on Easter morning.

8 Then the women remembered his words, 9 returned from the tomb, and told all these things to the eleven disciples and all the rest. 10 The women were Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James; they and the other women with them told these things to the apostles.11 But the apostles thought that what the women said was nonsense, and they did not believe them…Luke 24…Good News Translation.

Having known very little about Bible stories, I was intrigued to learn about this episode.

What became the “take away” for me was that he elevated the women in the story. It was as if he took special consideration that women were the first witnesses to this monumental event. And in that, they became, to him, noteworthy. They didn’t realize Jesus had risen from the dead.  They only knew that the grave was empty.

He also noted, when they ran to tell the disciples, it seemed like they might not have been believed. He explained, in those days, women had very little importance. He wondered if it had been a man reporting, would their news been more readily accepted?

The Preacher’s perspective interested me. Here was a man, who was clergy, and he was looking at other men with attitudes. He seemed chagrined that they might have diminished the women’s credibility, based only on the fact that they were women.

Up until that point, I didn’t realize that I also thought that women had very little role in religious life.

 I sincerely wanted to be a nun, because I longed to be closer to God. I saw that as the only path for that to happen.

So that day, in the midst of what I thought was “craziness”, I came away with a sense that, as a woman, I was important to God and that He didn’t ignore me.

As my faith matured, I would realize the truth of the scripture that says that in Christ, there is neither male nor female.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female…Galatians 3:28

I have not been one to want to usurp men’s position, but deep inside I always had a sense that it couldn’t be all one sided.

That day, the preacher from England, opened up the door of possibility, that women were not only important, but essential.
That sermon became a springboard on which I was able to put myself right in the center of the greatest Story of all.

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