I’m taking some time by the fire this evening to offer a prayer and contemplation for women; particularly today the women who are weeping.
I am thinking this evening of the weeping women we have seen pictured all over the news this week who have prayed, pastored, served, studied, preached, prophesied, committed and envisioned a place for and in the church; not only for themselves, but for other women and for others who’ve been told they can’t.
The media and blogosphere, twitter and facebook have been filled with theological and non critique and comment; here’s a selection:
Ecclessiological (about church-ish) and/or Theological (about God-ish): It’s about the Bible not Fake Ideas of Progress, Tom Wright & Has the Church of England finally lost it’s reason? Women bishops & the collapse of Anglican theology
This post isn’t to add critique or make any overly long or analytical comment, I just feel things when I see both the still and moving images of the women clergy who weep, I feel grief, weight, sadness and loss. I am not and have never been a member of or an advocate for institutional church, I am not loyal to a denomination or very clued in on the systems & processes. But I understand structures and the power and symbolism of structures of which church and Christianity is a part and I understand people who choose to stay within in order to influence change and justice (in the face of their critics) So I too weep; with these women who have faith in their God, their church, their calling, their vocation, their leaders and their people because the vote carried so much hope and the vote then knocked them down. Hard.
Despite all the positivity in the aftermath from those within and around the CofE synod there were and are still tears; and my twitter feed last night certainly reflected the difficulties some women clergy may be facing this Sunday going back to warm or cold congregations and the prayers going out to cover & surround them.
This is not by far the toughest thing we as people have faced this week and many, many women have been weeping all over the world, our thoughts have particularly been focussed on Gaza and I’ve also been mindful of some female family & friends struggling with sickness and bereavement.
But I will finish with this; where women weep, they are also keepers and safeguarders of faith within themselves and for others, they are often found to be the instigators & sustainers of ritual, tradition and invokers of the divine. Surrounding all gender debates in society and within religious communities, sociological analysis will reveal these distinct patterns and themes of behaviour and experiences for women, . What is significant and cross referenced across many faith communities and cultures is that they may often be provoked by the close proximity of women to both birth and death over the course of many life cycles and how women who are witness to these human and bodily acts inevitably remain or become aware that they echo with the sacred.
So we weep, we grieve, we lose and lose hard. But in all this; death, darkness, destruction, sickness & oppression I really hope & have faith that there is a revelation of God to come, that a redeemer waits with us in the shadows and the hardness, with the one’s who’ve been told ‘no'; waiting until these ‘foolish things’ really are ready to confound the ‘wise’ and the powerful – and I’m hoping they’ll be ready soon.