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Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 22, 2018

‘Daughters of grace’

By Trey Hegar, First Presbyterian Church | Mar 02, 2018

“Daughters of Grace” was the title of the women’s retreat hosted by St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Iowa City. My wife, Sarah, was one of the guest speakers. At the retreat, small groups discussed some of the great women of the Bible. I was interested to know more, so I looked up some of my old Bible stories.

There were many fearless women in the Bible. Deborah the Judge led the warriors of Israel in victorious battle. She planned better than her enemy. She teaches us that power can come from the mind as well as the body.

The Jewish queen, Esther, modeled bravery and courage when she risked her life to save the lives of her people. She spoke out to a man in power knowing she could die. She teaches us that we must break intimidation and use our influence to bring glory to God.

Priscilla ministered the gospel together with her husband Aquila. The Bible describes her as an effective mentor. She taught when women were only supposed to listen. She teaches us that we all need to keep learning.

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James were the first to share the Good News that Jesus had risen after seeing the empty tomb. In the time of Jesus, women could not be counted as witnesses in court. However, here we learn that scriptures count them as the first true witnesses to the resurrection.

There are indeed passages in the Bible that talk about women being submissive and remaining silent. In 1 Corinthians 14:34, Paul wrote: “As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches.” Yet, when you read this passage in context you find that they were not saying women must remain quiet at all times. No, Paul was saying the women in this one particular church should be reverent and humble, with a servant’s heart just like Christ.

In the same scripture story, there were men and other leaders in the church who were told to remain silent until others spoke. The words in the Greek for when to speak and when to listen in the text were words commonly used to refer to what would be modern day business meetings. Things must have been getting rowdy there in Corinth. Paul had to tell them all at some point to let other people talk.

In another passage of scripture in Ephesians, Paul again says women should submit to men. In the very next sentence he says men should also submit to women. He says they should both submit to each other in deference, out of Christ-like love. This submission isn’t done because one gender is superior. It is done from humility and grace.

It amazes me how one or two pieces of scripture can be taken out of context for thousands of years. Women still are not treated equal. They don’t receive equal pay for equal work. They are talked over and interrupted by men and other women during business meetings. Watch and pay attention how often another person will finish a woman’s thought for her at a meeting.

I am so grateful that the Bible shares about so many other “Daughters of Grace” who did not remain silent and who found their voices. May the women in our lives and community be lifted up by us all. May they each know God blessed them with power, wisdom and a voice.

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