Bishop Wayne Wright says "In the new book’s Foreword, former Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold writes: ”Holy Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints seeks to expand the worshiping communities awareness of the communion of the saints, and to give increased expression to the many and diverse ways in which Christ, through the agency of the Holy Spirit, has been present in the lives of men and women through the ages, just as Christ continues to be present in our own day.
Holy Women, Holy Men greatly expands upon the witness to the Holy Spirit’s working. The example of these holy lives is inspiring and impressive. The book will be a valuable addition to worship. It will also be a great aid to teaching."
My co-worker is passing along some thoughts by a priest about the abundance of women that seem to be honored this week. Here is what she wrote:
This past week I have been meditating on the witness of women in our faith. On Sunday, we reflected on Martha and Mary—two women who remind us of the importance of hospitality, discipleship, and our intentional focus on God in all that we do. At the Wednesday Eucharist, we celebrated the lives of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Amelia Bloomer, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Ross Tubman. All four of these women lived in the 1800s, at a time when women did not have many rights and slavery was still ever present. Yet, these women teach us about how anyone can be a witness against injustice and oppression. Finally, today is the feast day of Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene was a faithful disciple of Christ, and is regarded as the first witness to the risen Lord—or as I like to say, the first preacher of the Good News. Mary Magdalene, who was a faithful pastor to Christ, became a faithful witness of the power and meaning of Christ’s resurrection.
As a female leader in the Church, I am very aware of how little “face time” women get in Scripture and Tradition. Some feminist theologians would argue that women expose us to a different experience of God and should therefore receive more attention and meditation. In many ways, I agree with that perspective. As a people whose Scripture is dominated by males, I am always eager to see what and how I will learn differently through women in our Scripture and Tradition.
What I have been contemplating this week, however, is how much the message of Christ touches me regardless of gender differences. Martha and Mary, Elizabeth, Amelia, Sojourner, Harriet, and Mary Magdalene teach us how to be faithful disciples of Christ. They teach us to be Christ-centered in our work, to take time to listen to God, to be bold in our struggle for justice and in fighting against oppression, and to witness to the risen Lord in the world. These lessons have nothing to do with the gender of the teachers. Many men in our tradition have taught us the same lessons. My hope is that hearing the message from a feminine voice might allow us to hear that message with fresh ears. How might a different voice renew your energy to “seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving your neighbor as yourself?”