I remember when I was 14 years old a friend from my church asked if I would go and speak in a children’s club about the Trinity. For some reason I answered yes and some weeks later I gave my first public talk. I was 14. I’m not sure that what I said at that time would be the same, I will say today, but I do hope that if I could go back in time, I would say yes again. Because it was at that time, I realised that I love studying and reflecting on who God is but more so I love to share my thoughts and engage in conversations about how we can understand God.
Later on I have realised something less joyful and even though I don’t think it is the most important topic to address in our society or our churches, I have seen too many times that it still exists and therefore we need to continue to talk about it. The topic is, how can it be that it is harder for women to speak publicly about who and how they think God is? But also how can it be that women often find themselves in situations where they end up thinking, that their opinions are less valuable and they are probably not as smart as the men when it comes to address a life with Jesus?
I will argue for two perspectives in this blog post. Firstly, I want to encourage women to be bold and to take risk when they are in settings which have a tradition for that it is men who speaks and share thoughts. Secondly, I want to invite men to encourage women to voice their thoughts and reflections in various situations.
Good morning! says the Lord
One of my favourite verses from Scripture is Matthew 28:8-9: The women, deep in wonder and full of joy, lost no time in leaving the tomb. They ran to tell the disciples. Then Jesus met them, stopping them in their tracks. “Good morning!” he said (MSG).
Let me give a little bit context for these verses. The women were follower of Jesus. They had walked with him and loved him for three years. They were really close friends. And they had come to believe that Jesus was God. He was the one who was going to rescue the Jewish nation as well as the whole earth. But three days ago he was arrested, and he was called out to be a criminal. He was nothing according to the judges and the rulers in the society. Instead they had treated him as a convict and he was crucified. After his death, a rich man had buried him in a tomb, but they had not had the opportunity to say their last goodbyes. Instead of weeping at the tomb, they had to weep in stillness, fear and quietness because it was sabbath. So as soon the sabbath was over and it was the dawn of a new day, they ran to the grave. Because they had to say goodbye to their friend, king and Lord. But instead of finding a closed tomb with no ways of getting in, they found the tomb open. And empty. And with fear of that someone had stolen the body of Jesus the women were met by an angel who spoke about a resurrection and that it was the women who had to go and tell it to Jesus’ friends. On there way to do that, where there were no time to waste, the women were met by the Lord, and he said: Good morning!
Why did Jesus say: Good morning? Why didn’t he say: Hey, it’s me. I’m alive? Or: I told you so? Why is it a simple “good morning”? I don’t think there is just one answer to this question but I want to share my thoughts.
Good morning is something we say very often when we meet our family, colleagues or maybe our bus driver. It is a way to remind our selves that each day gives us a new chance. It is a way of saying that we hope that this day will be good. We don’t know because we can’t foresee how the rest of they day will play out but we can hope. But our good mornings can also let the person we greet know that we saw him or her. And even though it doesn’t take many seconds to say the two words one has to stop and pause. It is a way to be grounded just were we are and to recognise our surroundings.
Jesus said good morning to the women. The women who were in a hurry to tell his friends that he was risen. There was an important task ahead of them. And he disturbed with a good morning. He stopped them. He invited them to be aware of themselves. That they were loved by him. They were recognised by him. That this morning was new. There were a new beginning. With that good morning they could take a deep breath and know that they were as he wanted them to be and that was enough for the mission of they day. With this good morning they were strengthen to take the biggest risk in their lives. Trust that they were not insane but they have had an encounter with the living God.
I think, that each of us, men and women needs to hear this good morning to dare to live life to the full. Because each one of us needs to know that our mistakes and failures from yesterday are not the loudest voices in our lives. God in Jesus wants us to know that the voice there were stronger than death. And it comes in a simple good morning.
It is in this voice and in those words to us women that we can find strength to share our thoughts and experiences with God. I think it was that good morning that gave me the courage to give a talk about the Triune God when I was 14. Because it is a voice that send us with good news. But it is not only a voice that strengthen us to talk about God in a theological way. It is also the voice that gives us strength to explore beauty, fight the good fight and give voice to the voiceless. It is a voice that can send us to our jobs and to meet strangers with a smile.
We are in this together
Time and time again I get a sense of that when we are talking about men and women in the church but also in the society it sounds like that we are against one another. That if more women ends in the boards it will be instead of men. Or if more women speaks in churches it will be at the expense of men. It can sound like a zero-sum game. No one can win. But I think there is a different perspective to bring in this matter!
Jesus met the women and he said good morning to them and sent them to his friends so that they together could share the good news about him to the rest of the world. They had to be in this together. We are depended on one another. Because it is with our unique voices that we can bring peace, gospel, love to the world. It aren’t only women who are called. And it aren’t only men. We are in this together.
History has taken its course and we can’t change the past. Instead we can and shall analyse it and ask where do we go from here. And one of the things I think there is so important if we want to see more women sharing the gospel with friends, colleagues and neighbour is that men show in various ways that they are behind the women. That they support women in risk taking. In pursuing new ways of engaging with society - it can be as entrepreneurs, CEOs in business or leaders in the church. If we as a church can support one another to investigate were God wants each one of us to serve then we have a powerfull and beautiful message to the world.