Women in Ministry | John 20:14-18

by Katie on May 24, 2018

Let’s finish up on a slightly different note, yes? It’s easy to look for the negative, isn’t it? It can be natural, even, to fight back. Yet, the Bible doesn’t just declare women to be submissive and answer to their husbands. It doesn’t yell at us, beat us upside the head, and declare that the male sex is the winner and all others must simply live their lives in gratitude to them.

Let’s read from the book of John:

When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’, and she told them that he had said these things to her.
John 20:14-18 (NRSV)

When Jesus rose he could have chosen anyone to reveal himself to first. Similarly to the aforementioned Woman at the Well scenario, it need not be a woman who only approached the well in the heat of the day to miss the gossip that was sure to be spoken about her. He could have found any of his disciples – or any of his betrayers, but he chose Mary Magdalene.

Now, Mary was a woman of commitment. She stayed at Jesus’ side in the hardest of times – when he was crucified and dying a criminal’s death. A death on the cross was most certainly the worst of fates, and for onlookers it could have only been a living nightmare, too. But Mary stayed. Mary wept. Mary mourned. Mary, though, was loyal to Jesus.

We can’t downplay, however, that Mary was a sinner. She is not portrayed this way in any of the gospels, but historians can make some educated guesses about her past. Her name is suggestive of being from Magdala, which makes her assumed hometown about 120 miles north of Jerusalem along the Sea of Galilee. There is a Jewish text that states that the ancient place of Magdala was destroyed by God for its fornication.

Knowing the history of the time and Mary’s probable home, it can be a safe assumption that she, too, sinned. Perhaps as a prostitute? Perhaps she was unfaithful? We don’t know for certain. What we do know is that Mary, too, lived in a broken and fallen world. Mary was undeserving of the power that Jesus gave her.

To go to his disciples, to even the one whom he loved, and say, “He is alive! I have seen him!”

Even after she insinuated that his body was moved.

After all of her sin.

He chose her.

You and I, no matter who we are, are named and claimed by God through the waters of baptism. We are redeemed through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. We are made holy by the Spirit and given good gifts and strengths to serve.

Mary went back to a group of men and told them the truth. She proclaimed the good news.

Why, if Mary Magdalene can, can’t we?

Jesus has chosen all of us, man and woman, slave or free, gentile or Jew. Red hair or brown, green eyes or blue, we can work together in the Body of Christ.

I urge you to consider how you view your neighbor. Take a good, long, hard look. Even as a woman, I sometimes doubt another woman’s church leadership. I was raised in a world where, even at church, women are lesser. The thing is, God has equipped us all. We all have a story to share.

So why don’t we share it together?

Almighty,
Thank you for empowering your people. We would be able to complete nothing without you. Continue to help us grow, to love one another wholly and to see you in their face, hear you in their words, and feel you in their love. Let us work together to bring your Kingdom to this earth. Help us to ensure that all may know you and feel you through us, man or woman, adult or child.
We lift this to you in your Holy name,
Amen

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Women in Ministry | 1 Corinthians 14:34

by Katie on May 21, 2018

 women should be silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as the law also says.
1 Corinthians 14:34 (NRSV)

Have you ever felt like there was something you were created to do? Maybe it was recognized in hindsight, but sometimes we know in the moment or before. That buzz of energy that leaves us filled with a passion and excitement that cannot be contained in words.

I can think of a number of purposes I was created for. God has already used my life to further the Kingdom on earth, but sometimes there are moments that I am sure I had been equipped with the skills for years prior. As God uses all things to make good (Romans 8:28) I can only believe that the Holy Spirit bestows gifts on whomever needs them, regardless of gender identification.

This verse from 1 Corinthians holds words I struggle with. You see, if you know me in person, you know that I just love to run my mouth. In fact, some might say that I feel called to speak. I have a passion for speaking out about the things I care for. I love to talk about Jesus. I love to talk about the life, death, and resurrection and I love to tell you stories of times when the presence of God has been revealed.

I am willing to do it one on one, through a blog, in a newsletter article, or even from the pulpit.

So who are you to give me the command to be silent? Especially in church! I want to sing praises! I want to shout from mountaintops! I want all to know that Jesus is my savior, and Jesus is your savior, too.

The best part is that the Bible has other stories that tell of women teachers, evangelists, church leaders. Paul’s first letter to Corinth has examples of women leading, too. And Jesus has even empowered those women himself. Did we forget about the Woman at the Well (John 4:1-26)? Jesus took a woman who probably shouldn’t have been listened to because of her transgressions and empowered her to go tell about him. The Son of God empowered her to lead when, likely, everyone thought she shouldn’t.

The scary part? Sometimes it’s other women, our own peers, our sisters in battle who try to silence us.

But God has created us as strong and faithful women. The Holy Spirit has equipped us with her gifts and the skills we need, and we are redeemed through Jesus death on the cross and subsequent resurrection regardless of our identities. Thus, we go forward. We conquer.

We don’t remain silent, because if we do…then what’s to stop others from being silenced as well? If we speak the truth, as so many women have who come before us, we will be heard.

And we will share the Good News to all who hope to hear it. Together.

God of Abundance,
Thank you for our gifts and our voices. Thank you for the individuality you have created through us and the skills your spirit gifts us. Thank you for loving us so much you sent Jesus Christ to redeem us. Through that redemption, may we find our voices to cry out as one chorus, sharing the good news of your love in our lives. Continue to give us courage and grace for others.
In the name of the Spirit we pray,
Amen

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Women in Ministry: 1 Timothy 2:8-15

May 19, 2018

 I desire, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands without anger or argument; also that the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided, or with gold, pearls, or expensive clothes, but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for […]

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Women in Ministry: Introduction to “Those Passages” Devotions

May 18, 2018

Friends, Family, Web Browsers who have stumbled on the blog… It’s been a long time since I’ve made a post. It is long overdue, but this may not be the post you expect to bring you back. This semester, I have had the honor and privilege to begin seminary studies at Luther Seminary in St. […]

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Secret Time…

May 9, 2017

Can I tell you a secret and trust you not to share it with anyone else? Because it’s kind of embarrassing and I’m only telling you because I really think it will help to get it off of my chest… I get hives. There you go. I admitted it. But not the normal hives. Not […]

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Washed Away

May 4, 2017

There’s this story in the Bible – in John 4 – about a woman who lives with so much shame that she only goes to gather water when no one else is there. It’s the hottest part of the day. And one day, Jesus meets her there. He asks for a drink – which is […]

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It Takes Love

January 23, 2017

It’s been a few weeks since I started my list of 101 goals in 1001 days! I can’t say that I’m getting anywhere fast, but this list is already changing things. I find myself reflecting more on the choices I make and their purpose in my life. You see, we all make choices every day. […]

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If We’re Honest

August 1, 2016

I always tell myself I’ll blog this week. And then I don’t. Thanks for showing me grace and checking in when I actually get it done! I live in a small town in Nebraska about 40 minutes from the house I grew up in. When I go to see my parents at that house, I […]

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A New Ride

March 11, 2016

Spoiler Alert: I haven’t blogged in a very long time. Whew. Got that out of the way. When I started Grace Accepted, I had one goal in mind: to share the news of what was happening while I traveled with the amazing organization Youth Encounter. I wanted to keep people up to date, let them know […]

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Remembrance

August 27, 2015

From the time I started taking communion in third grade, I loved communion bread. To say loved might be an understatement, and in my household, that was not an uncommon thought. My sister and I had this tendency of asking for our mother to bake communion bread for all of the major life events we faced. Birthdays, […]

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