Thursday, March 28, 2013

Holy Thursday

Today  the Christian Church celebrates the washing of the disciples feet by Jesus.  All four Gospels tell the story of women who anoint Jesus.  Mark tells of a woman who anoints his head.  Matthew and Luke tell of a woman who anoints his feet and in John it is of Mary of Bethany who anoints his feet.  Jesus is reported to says, of the woman who anoints his head.  "I tell you, where ever the good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."  Jesus seems to think that her actions were so important that the good news the Gospel should be told in her memory yet her name was not recorded.  In my life time of being a Christian I have never heard the Gospel proclaimed in the name of this nameless woman.  So today as we celebrate Jesus' model of selfless service, tell the story in memory of her.        

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Rembering the Women of Passover

On the 25th and 26th of March the Jewish community and many Christian communities celebrated Passover.  The names of Moses and his brother Arron are the most remembered during Passover.  But there are women, without whom there would have been no Moses.  First, there are the midwives Shiphrah and Prah.  (Exodus 1: 15-21)  They disobeyed the king's command to kill every Hebrew baby boy. Then there was the mother of Moses, Arron and Mariam.  She hid her son for three months.  Mariam is the brave girl who hides in the reeds along the river to keep an eye on her baby brother.  She negotiates with the daughter of the king to allow her mother to nurse her own baby and get paid for it.  (Exodus 2:1-10)  In Exodus 15:20-21 she is called the prophet Mariam and leads the women in song and dance praising God.  As the 2007 edition of The New Oxford Annotated Bible states in the explanation of this text, "As women were the first to resist Pharaoh and save Moses' life it is especially fitting that women also get the last word in the story of liberation." Finally, in Micah 6:4 Mariam is included with Moses and Arron as a leader of the people. Remember the women named and unnamed who figure in the development of Judaism and Christianity. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mary of Bethany a Disciple of Jesus

On this Monday of Holy Week the Gospel reading for the Roman Catholic Church is John 12:1-11.  Jesus is in the home of three people he is said to love.  They are Martha, her sister Mary and their brother Lazarus.  Mary anoints Jesus' feet with nard, a very expensive aromatic ointment.  Judas is angry because of the extravagance of Mary's act of love and kindness to Jesus.  Many times when this story is told Jesus response to Judas, "you will always have the poor with you" is the story remembered.  And while that may be true the love Mary has shown for her friend is what I choose to remember.  In John 13:15 Jesus demonstrates a model of service by washing the feet of his followers and in 13:35 Jesus is reported to say to those with him that everyone will know that they are his disciples if they have love for each other.  Gail R. O' Day says in The Women's Bible Commentary, "Mary models what it means to be a disciple: to serve, to love one another, to share in Jesus' death." This is not the first time Mary has modeled discipleship.  In Luke 10:39 Mary is pictured sitting at the feet of her friend as a disciple would sit at a Rabbis feet.  On this Monday of Holy Week I celebrate the disciple and friend of Jesus, Mary of Bethany and all the women who are disciples and friends.                    

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

Women at the Last Supper

As we approach Holy Week it is important to remember the role of women would have played in the week's activities.  I was taught that there were twelve male disciples and Jesus in attendance at the Passover meal.  In Mark 14:12 the disciples ask Jesus where he wants them to make preparations for the Passover meal.  In Mark 14:17 Jesus arrives with the twelve to eat the meal.  Disciples, other than the twelve, were preparing the meal.  Apparently the disciples were more than twelve men.  We are told that women traveled with Jesus and ministered to Him.  We are told that women and the Mother of Jesus were at the crucifixion.  We are told in Luke 2:41-42 that every year the parents of Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover.  It does no make sense that Jesus would travel with men and women, including his mother, and these women would not be included in the feast which represents the most important event in Jewish history.  Women disciples would have been the disciples who prepared the meal.  As a Jewish acquaintance once asked, "What do they think, he got Passover to go?"     
Following is a video for those of us who may not be familiar with the Seder or Passover meal.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

First Blog

I am the author of Prostitutes, Virgins and Mothers: Why Do We Believe What We Believe About Biblical Women?  The book will be released  March of 2014 as part of Women's History Month and International Women's Day. I am a cradle Christian and have long been disturbed by the portrayal or absence of women the Bible.  For far to long traditional interpretations  of biblical women have been used to limit their full participation in faith communities.  The recent Conclave of the Roman Catholic Church serving as an example of women's exclusion from making decision which affect the whole church.  

I hold a B.A. in religion from Chapman University, an M.A. in religion from Liberty University and a Dr. of Ministry in International Feminist Theology from San Francisco Theological Seminary.  It is my sincere hope that a fresh examination and interpretation of these women's stories will result in conclusion which do not limit women in their participation in their faith communities.

I have included this video in my first blog as a celebration of strong, spirited, beautiful women.
Hope to hear from you,