Scripture ~ The woman said to him (Jesus), “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.” John 4: 25-26
Spiritual Focus ~ “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. American lawyer and Associate Justice on the Supreme Court
Breath Prayer ~ Be, Loved
Story ~ This week we wrap up the last full week of Women’s History month. It is rather poignant that Women’s History month transitions smoothly into Holy Week where we see a greater presence of women in the Jesus narrative. We see them walk with Jesus in the Passion parade, stay with him through the trial, sit with him at the cross, and care for his body at the tomb. Women are first to witness the resurrected Christ and proclaim it to the world. There are so many women in the Bible, named and unnamed, who were influencers in the narrative of God’s love. As women theologians began to interpret scripture, their scholarship revealed that women were in all places where decisions were being made.
One woman’s story that shows the extent to which Jesus goes to share God’s love is the story of the Samaritan woman. She has two strikes against her as a woman of lower status than men and a Samaritan, an outsider in society. Her story has been tainted with assumptions of immorality, being unlovable and unwanted. Yet Jesus goes out of his way to meet her at Jacobs well. He is tired and thirsty. The Samaritan woman has the ability to give him a drink, Jesus has the ability to give her living water. She “sees,” and knows Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus affirms to her that he is the Messiah and forever changes her story from unloved to BELoved. The mutuality of this relationship cannot be dismissed. It is the type of relationship Jesus teaches and lives out as God’s love for all people. She returns to her village with the good news of God’s love and the villagers believe. She is not only the first to identify Jesus as Messiah in the gospel of John but is the first disciple to proclaim the gospel to the oppressed, to the people of Samaria, to all people.
The history of women has been one of perseverance, to go against the odds for the sake of love. There is a myth in the yoga world that women were only allowed to practice yoga in the last 50 years. (Interestingly, it has only been in the last 50 years that women theologians have gained respect as well.) A closer look at the myth reveals only one particular style of yoga, the Vedic tradition, discouraged women from practicing yoga, much in the same way that some churches do not ordain women. Outside of that tradition though many women have been responsible for sharing the benefits of yoga with the world. Blanche Devries, Indra Devi, and Lilias Folan to name a few of the women pioneers that made yoga accessible in the West. All this is to say, God will not be limited to our ideas about who is in and who is out. God will not be limited to our ideas of who is to BE Loved. God always acts to encourage us into a mutual loving relationship, with God and each other. This is most certainly true, BE loved.
Photo credit Jean Fletcher Auger