Steel Magnolias and the Bible

Before I dig into my epiphany from church yesterday, I’d like to give a disclaimer that I am not a biblical expert, just a child of a loving God. I might be wrong. This is just the bit that I gleaned from yesterday’s sermon at church.

I have always felt like there was an injustice in the way that society treats women. Even as a child, I remember having arguments with boys at church about what a woman’s role was and becoming tired and frustrated with being told that I was meant to be below men, when I knew that I was equal, even in God’s eyes. I was okay with being a servant, but didn’t like that I would always be treated as such. It just didn’t seem right.

When I reached college, I was introduced to the idea of feminism (not bra burning and man-hating). I understand that it is dangerous to use that word in that it brings to mind a lot of negative feelings and backlash. I do feel like I identify to some extent with the feminist cause, wanting equality in society, and I do not think that it is wrong to want these things. As with any group, there are extremists, and I don’t speak of those ideas at this time.

0008_ability-to-do-good-hairLet me take a step to the side and tell you about a wonderful movie (and play) that my mother introduced me to years ago: Steel Magnolias. The plot is too long and complicated to fully explain, but the story revolves around a group of southern women and how they deal with life and support each other in the tragedies that they go through. This movie will make you die laughing and cry ugly tears at the same time. The whole idea of the movie though, is that women are strong. In birth and love and life and death, we are there, even when it gets too tough for the men in our lives. It doesn’t mean that the men are any less or that we love them any less, but that they are not meant to carry the same burdens. As women, we are naturally strong.

Now, jumping back to the sermon from Prairie Baptist yesterday, the lesson was about one of the things that Jesus said while dying on the cross, part of the pastor’s current series. This time, we were learning about Jesus’ words to his mother in John 19:25-27.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.
26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,here is your son,”
27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

And if you look to another telling of the same story in the bible (I can’t remember if its Mark or Luke or where), it can be gleaned that there were 4 women and 1 man that personally knew Jesus that were standing by the cross as he died. His disciples (all but one) were gone and these were the people left in his final moments.  Something that caught my attention that the preacher said was that some of these women (Mary Magdalene especially) had been following Jesus and his disciples throughou0003_laughter-through-tearst their traveling ministry. They presumably did the cooking and washing and taking care of things for these men, essentially acting as nonromantic wives or mothers. And in his last moments, these strong women were there!

From biblical times, women have been the strong ones and the people working behind the scenes to keep things going. So do not demote me to merely a servant of men when I do so much more than cook and clean. Women are the ones keeping this whole societal machine running. We are magnolias but we are made of steel, unbreakable by anything that life throws at us.

Have a good week!

-Lizzy

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