The Beauty of Feminism

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The Beauty of Feminism
The Beauty of Advent Pt 4

This year has been filled with sorrow. From politics, to news, to allegations, to personal issues—mourning and lament have been top priorities. And yet there have been two things that have brought me constant hope: first is Jesus, more on that later, and the second has been feminism.

I always thought feminism was the f-word of Christian culture. But for the past couple of years I have found a deeply ingrained equality seeping from the Gospels. This year particularly I have been studying Mary, and I have noticed parts of her story that I had never given much thought to before. I have heard her story the same way my entire life. There was no new secret diary unearthed, no social media account to follow the journey, just four sparse accounts of this miracle.

Mary’s story is one of options. Options I never saw before this year. Part of me kind of felt bad for Mary, pregnant with the Messiah out of wedlock, young and without a choice. But that is what I have always read into the story, it is not how the story actually goes. The truth is Mary could have said no to the angel. Mary had the power of consent.

I used to think all this poor girl wanted to do was marry her man and participate in the tradition of her culture. To simply be married off to a man who was going to make all the decisions for her. But the Angel did not appear to Joseph or Mary’s father to ask for permission to change her future forever. The Angel went to Joseph after Mary accepted the invitation to host the Incarnation in her womb. Mary made her own choices and God empowered her to think for herself.

Mary had authority over her body and her life. Mary was God’s choice to mother the Savior of the world. Mary would be the most influential woman in Jesus’ life. She was strong and brave and accepted the societal consequences of a divine proposition.

And then there is Jesus—the radical hope of all mankind. The Babe in the straw grew up to be the Man who saw women as people, stood up for them, talked to them, and ultimately redeemed them. He continually saw the Father’s image in people who needed dignity restored, and oh so often it was women whom he protected, built up, and gave authority.

This year has been a tough one for a lot of people, folks I know and those I do not, but this Advent I can assure you that there is hope in Christ. As I delve more into what feminism means for me, a single woman in the church who is trying to follow Jesus, I look to Mary and the Baby she chose, who grew into a man who just might be my favorite feminist for the way forward.

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The Beauty of Yes

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The Beauty of Advent Pt 3

For the past few weeks, I’ve spent Sundays sitting in my coffee shop, sipping my mocha with a book or pen in hand, and I have prayed. I have prayed for the barista (I’ll call them R) behind the counter, the one whose smile brings warmth and whose greeting brings charm. I have been praying for R, because faith is hard and spiritual abuse is real and the beauty of Advent is not always evident. I have been praying that R would see the coming of the Messiah with the wonder they did when they were young—when the mystery was still enchanting and life was not complicated and faith was easy. I pray for R because I want them to say, “yes” like Mary did.

The Son of God came as a zygote in the womb of a woman. A young and poor woman with no rights or notoriety. Just the favor of God poured out on her. Jesus could have come in any form—a mighty warrior, a reigning king, a roaring lion, a magnificent dragon, a brute force, or a battleship. But nothing royal or majestic came. Just small and miraculous.

The angel could have appeared to Mary with great volume and flaming sword in hand, but he came gently relaying God’s plan and seeking her consent. Mary listened and responded. I do not know how she deliberated or wrestled or how she came to her conclusion, but her yes ushered in redemption. Her yes may have been a whispered awe or spoken with bold assurance. Her agreement with the Angel came with no surrogate fees from heaven, just a promise and peace.

Mary pondered and thought while the Christ Child grew in her belly. She knew the Prophesied One would be born soon. She had songs, prayers, words, and peace, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her! (Luke 1:45)”

At Advent I have a choice, R has a choice: is the baby in the manger still the King? Was He born to die so that we might live? Born in a manger so that I might be born again? Born into poverty so that I might sell my belongings and give to the poor? Born as a refugee so that I may live as an alien in this world? Do I give this little eternal King my consent to tear down the walls in my life and grow fruit in the cleared lot? Do I treasure the fruit and say yes like Mary? I want to say yes, I want to believe that the Lord will fulfill His promises. I want to, and I pray that R wants this too. I pray that my “yes” will set the example for R, the example that Mary set for me.

written while listening to Worship 2017

currently reading Beasts of Extraordinary Circumstances

Beauty in the Waiting

The Beauty of Advent Pt 2

I wait for the LORD, my soul waits,
and in His word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen wait for the morning,
more than watchmen wait for the morning.
Psalm 130:5-6

As we anticipate, we wait for the light of Christ together. Like the watchman waits for the morning, we wait for the dawn of Hope to break through the darkness. Like the watchmen yearn for the sun, I pine for Advent, hungry for something new. I am searching for light in the context of encroaching darkness. And yet as the night gets darker and the light grows dim, the hope of Advent appears, rays of the sun begin to peek over the horizon. This hope is what makes the waiting worth it, for it illuminates and casts out the uncertainty of night.

The beauty of waiting is that even when it seems lonely, it is not. The watchmen wait together. Mary, Joseph and Elizabeth prepare together. The shepherds celebrate together. The Magi seek together. And we, the Body of Christ, the Fellowship of the Saints, wait, prepare, celebrate and seek together.

We wait together because the Christ Child is the Truth, because the waiting is worth it, because the waiting unites us in the grand story of redemption. Together we sing and pray and expel the darkness, together with Christ and the Church we are the best Patronus the world will ever see. We bring the blinding light of the truth and the hope, and the joy of the Lord with us everywhere we go. When the darkness is winning, we look to the light of the Baby in the manger, he shines brightly and overwhelms the void.

If the Advent is real, if the Light is coming, if the waiting and the anticipating is for Truth, then we must wait together. The beauty of Advent’s waiting is that we do it together. It is not a solitary event, it is communal. We are a community that waits together, that prepares together, that celebrates and seeks truth together—so that we can eliminate the darkness in the world and in ourselves.

written while listening to Yes, Yes and Amen