My friends and I recently started a ministry for women at our church – a dream nearly two years in the making. And if those years taught me anything, it’s that God often uses a community of women to draw out the God-breathed song in our hearts.
Women have always been in the business of quietly following the dangerous, table-turning ways of Jesus. And 99 per cent of the time, our actions are mustard seeds which, when seen together, form a holy tapestry that looks curiously like the kingdom of God.
In days of old it was Miriam, defying Pharaoh by sending her baby brother into the reeds in the hope of saving his life. It was Pharaoh’s daughter Bithiah, willing to risk her father’s wrath. Enabling the life of a boy who would go on to advocate for the freedom of God’s people.
It was Elizabeth, compassionate and sensitive to the Spirit who whispered: “You can do this!” in Mary’s darkest hours. Enabling Mary to keep saying ‘yes’ to carrying and birthing the Messiah.
The world is full enough of messages telling us that if you can’t go big – if you can’t be a Moses, a Mary, a Paul – don’t bother.
But instead, what if we were people who follow the wisdom of my friends who birthed the women’s ministry with me. Of Miriam, from Bithiah, from Elizabeth.
Because you see – here’s the secret. None of us is the main character. Moses or Miriam, Mary or Elizabeth – none of us is it. As followers of the living Christ, we follow a God who was, who is, who will be the main character. Everything we do is an act of enabling that allows the story of God to unfold in our world. Our calling is to faithfully enable the coming of the kingdom – over and over.
And sure, some of us will be called like Moses – to walk into the chamber of Pharaoh himself. Like Deborah, to lead an army. Like Esther, to risk a painful death for the sake of speaking the truth. Like Julia Foote, to act upon the call to preach which God had placed on her life – despite being a young black woman in 1840s Boston. Like Malala, to stand in the halls of power and advocate on behalf of girls everywhere for the right to an education.
But this is what I know – all of us, as a community of women, are called to gather. Gather that we might enable the callings of another. An enabling which may, as we push each other forward, chip away at the dams shoring up the healing and justice which God longs to pour into our lives, into the lives of our sisters around the world.
If the Kingdom of God was likened in Jesus’ day simply to a woman kneading bread, to a fisherman catching a haul, to a labourer tending to his field, what kind of everyday images might Jesus use today? In other words, how might Jesus be calling you to enable the coming of the Kingdom of God in your right-now life?
I am a trainee lawyer and I often find myself in the thick of questions like: how ethical is this company’s tax structure? Perhaps my act of enabling would look like raising this uncomfortable topic with my boss over coffee. If you are a mama, perhaps the question is what balance you are willing to strike between affordable clothes for growing children and clothes which honour the people and craftsmanship involved in their production.
Perhaps it looks like writing to your MP to ask that the government adopt a more compassionate refugee policy. Perhaps it looks like hosting an evening at your church raising awareness of the everyday violence which plagues our sisters and brothers in the form of sex trafficking. Perhaps it looks like cooking a meal for the mama who you know is exhausted. Perhaps it looks like sending an email, encouraging a friend who is doubting the call of God on her life into ministry.
We may not all be called to be Moses, to be Mary, to be Deborah. But we are all called to gather together and raise our voice as part of the glorious tapestry of God’s liberated people.
We are all called to be one another’s advocate.
If we all do this, I have a feeling our collective advocacy will cause an almighty rupture – that together we will be part of a movement which invites more and more of our sisters into freedom. I have a feeling that as we gather together to say yes to one anothers’ callings, we will see with our own eyes the cracks in the dam begin to widen just enough to release those rivers of justice which carry us toward the New Creation.
So for you, sister, what might your act of enabling be today?