The gifts of women | 27 October 2013

Text: Galatians 3:23-29

Rather than give a traditional sermon this Sunday, I interviewed three women from our congregation about their experiences in the church, their relationship to the Bible and language we use for God, and their best hopes for the what the church can become.  Below are my brief opening words, but to get to the good stuff you’ll need to listen to the audio…

Some scholars argue that this statement by Paul in his letter to the Galatians represents a summary of all of his teachings: “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”   This was and is a radical vision for a new humanity.

This Mennonite Heritage Sunday theme is The Gifts of Women.  From the very beginning, the scriptures witness to the equal yet unique giftedness of women and men.  Genesis chapter one talks about God creating both male and female in the Divine image.  The church, historically, has not done well in living out this equal partnership of women and men bearing God’s image.

I thought for this Sunday that it wouldn’t be quite right if I, with my Y chromosome, attempted to be the main one giving voice to this topic, so instead of a monologue, I’ll be having a conversation with three women of this congregation.  Joyce W, JoAnn K, and Becca L have each given this some thought over the last few weeks, and I invite them forward to have this conversation about how the church has and hasn’t lived up to its best self in their own experiences.

I guess if there is one disclaimer to give it’s that you are completely freed from having to speak on behalf of all women, representing your own experience and perspective.