Who Runs the World? Women, Widows

 

Women have always been at the center

Of Revolution

Even when,

They were ignored

I laughed with some realization over the weekend,

Of my Sermon title

Was inspired by Beyonce.

(Pause)

And yet,

Because of that song,

I am reminded,

Of the many ground breaking transformative

Revolutions

Happening today,

Are because of women.

Malala Yousafzai, fighting for education

and against the Taliban

She is living our her Faith

She refuses to be silent

(pause)

Leymah Gbowee, fighting for equality for all women

And against the oppression of patriarchy

In many parts of Africa

She is living out her Faith

She refuses to be silent

(pause)

Alica, Patrisse and Opal.

Three names you may not know

But these three queer Women of Color

Are fighting for basic human and civil rights

And against the brutality of the least of these

By forming the #BlackLivesMatter

They are living out their purpose and Faith

They refuse to be silent.

So I cannot fathom,

Why this well ordered society

Would choose to judge,

Ridicule

Abandon

Women

In times of strife,

Struggle,

And Sorrow

When they most need us.

(pause)

I had never experienced the depth of pain

Or sorrow

That a woman experiences

Losing her mate

Until I walked with my mentor, Cheryl

When Papa Pete passed last year.

And Cheryl,

Perhaps like many other women who wear this mantle of widowhood

She was lucky,

Because not only was there this global grieving for Pete

There was this outpouring of care,

That surrounded and enfolded Cheryl

Even this week,

As Pete was posthumously awarded a Lifetime Service Award

At LSTC

The accolades, and the love continued to pour out.

(pause)

Sometimes, however

Not all women,

Who become widows

Experience the same love and care

Sometimes

For whatever reason,

They are abandoned by the community,

As seemed to be the practice in these ancient times

In Jesus’s time

Widows,

Lost much more than the love of their lives

Their partner and mate in all things,

It almost meant a death sentence for a woman

They suddenly were without status

Without protection

Without freedom

Without rights

And there was no advocate

No voice for them.

They were vulnerable

In a society

Who did not see the value,

Nor any responsibility to care for these widows

(pause)

But this widow,

In our Gospel text this morning

Will not be silenced

This widow stands

As an example

To other widows

Who suffer loss

Because of injustice

(pause)

“I have a baby to put in the ground,

She wasn’t my convict

She wasn’t my suspect

She was my baby

Once I put this baby in the ground

I’m ready,

This means war.”

(pause)

Sandra Bland’s mother,

Has not stopped working for justice,

Wherever she goes

Calling into question

The policies

The regulations

Of those who are called to serve the people

She lives out her Faith,

She has a voice

She is a baptized beloved child of the Creator God

Will we judge her, and not listen?

(pause)

“Then that little man in black there,

He says women can’t have as much rights as men

Cause Christ wasn’t a woman!

Where did your Christ come from?

Where did your Christ come from?

From God and a woman!

Man had nothing to do with Him,

With Jesus Christ

(pause)

Sojourner Truth,

Even as a slave

Refused to be silent

And lived out her call,

Proclaiming the atrocities

Against her people

She lived out her Faith

She had a voice

She was a baptized beloved child of the Creator,

Even now,

Why do we criticize?

Gloss over her very deep, faith wrenching words

Why do we belittle,

Attempt to erase,

Her boldness,

And others like her

Who chose to lean on their Faith

And speak out against such atrocities?

Why do we refuse to listen

Against the cries for justice?

(pause)

Widows,

Are not just without husbands,

They are without community

Without privileges

Without power

One of my beloved colleagues and friends,

A Pastor of this Church,

In Baltimore

Tweeted yesterday that,

We live in a society

that makes excuses

for the unjust judge

Demonizing the widow

for seeking justice

in the first place.

This is the truth we are unfortunately living,

Right now,

Women

Our very being,

Our rights

Our beloved selves

Are interrogated

Refuted

Because regardless of our status,

We cannot be muted

In the face of the unjust

Especially unjust judges,

Who,

“neither feared God nor had respect for people”

And this woman,

This unnamed widow in our Gospel text,

Was not going to accept

The word

NO.

She was not going

To stay in a place

Where others decided she belonged

Because it made them, comfortable

Rejecting the stagnant well-ordered society

That allowed the outcasts

To be cast aside,

Once they were drained

Of their usefulness

(pause)

We are not sure what she was fighting for

“Grant me justice against my opponent”

Or perhaps who she was fighting for

Or who she was standing for

But she was always a presence

In that unjust judges space,

In that courtroom

In front of his dwelling

On the street

Grant me justice against my opponent

This widow,

Was TIRED

of story after story

of injustice that permeated her days and nights

And refused

To give up

“Did you want to see me broken,

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders fallen down like teardrops

Weakened by my soulful cries?”

And because Maya Angelou,

Refused to be silent

Spoke within her Faith

Speaks for many women who were

Beaten

Battered

Spoke against the VIOLENCE

And all they had was their WORDS

And they KNEW CHRIST STOOD with the OPPRESSED

So

WITH ONE VOICE

THEY PROCLAIM

But because of JESUS,

I RISE.

(pause)

The Good News of Jesus Christ is that,

What carried this widow

To face the persecution,

Was not just her strength

But it was the presence of Jesus Christ

It was her FAITH!

It wasn’t her commitment to her community,

Or those who stood with her

It was because of the GRACE of the Creator God!

It wasn’t the organizing

Or the right words,

Because all of this flowed from her

Because God stood with her

“And will not God grant justice

to his chosen ones

who cry to him

day and night?”

(pause)

And beloved,

The Good News of Jesus Christ,

Is that Christ hears our prayers,

When we are crawling,

Scraping our knees

Blinded by our tears

Afraid because this world batters us

Christ stands with us,

REGARDLESS OF WHO WE ARE

Or how we have struggled with swimming

In the waters of Faith

Or how the world has proclaimed us

Useless

Because of our perceived sins

CHRIST SPEAKS A WORD!

Christ touches us,

Christ LOVES US!

(pause)

And because we are LOVED,

Christ teaches us

The power

Of PRAYER!

Prayer moves,

Transforms

Restores

US!

(pause)

Even more so,

I think,

The power of prayer

From Women-

A Woman prayed for me,

Had me on her mind,

Took the time to pray for me,

I’m so glad she prayed

I’m so glad she prayed

I’m so glad she prayed

For me.

Thanks Be to God

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