Sunday reflection: Holy Women of the Old Testament: 16 August–Memorial-For All the Saints, A.C.C.
When the Church honours the Blessed Virgin Mary (Aug. 15), it is often inclined to view her in isolation and to forget that she was a Hebrew woman. The evangelists, especially Saint Luke, did not make this mistake, but saw her in the light of a long line of women mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures — Sarah, whose husband was Abraham; Miriam, the sister of Moses; Deborah, one of the Judges of Israel; Hannah, the mother of Samuel; Ruth, the legendary grandmother of King David; Bathsheba, the wife of David and the mother of Solomon; the widow of Zar’ephath, who trusted the prophet Elijah and received mercy in the time of her grief; and the mother of the Maccabean martyrs, who encouraged them to keep faith with God and perished with them because she would not join in pagan sacrifices.
These women all had one thing in common: they were people who first appear as living on the edges of their society. For instance, Sarah and Hannah suffered the reproach of being childless in a culture which counted a woman’s worth by the number of children she bore; while Ruth, Bathsheba, and the widow of Zar’ephath were all foreigners in Israel, women from other nations which worshipped other gods. But all became the vessels of God’s mercy and crucial symbols of the salvation that God sought to make for Israel. Indeed, the very fact that they came from the edges of society made them bearers of Israel’s truth before God. For Israel itself was a society on the edges of the world, a nation easily scorned by the more powerful kingdoms round about, repeatedly invaded and oppressed. What set Israel apart was, of course, its covenant with the one true God — and its tenacity in faithfulness to this covenant. Thus, the holy women of the Old Testament symbolized Israel’s faithfulness to God in a hostile world. For just as each was vindicated for her faith in the God of Israel, so they became models of Israel’s vocation and living testimonies to the vindicating power of God. That is why we specially remember these holy women today.
Collect for the Holy Women of the Old Testament:
Blessed are you, Lord, God of our mothers, for you raised up generations of holy women in the house of your people Israel that they might preserve the way of your covenant. Grant us a measure of their faith, that we may be unafraid of rulers in their might and strong in our hope of your vindication; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Rector’s Corner: I would like to thank Gayle and Cris for providing leadership in our music ministry this morning. Again, we encourage parishioners, families and friends of St. Michael to offer your talent as we continue to worship and give praise to the Holy One. Praise the Lord!
Stewardship – Our parish is in need of additional volunteer greeters, readers, prayer leader, and counters for the 10am worship service. If you are called to this ministry, please let me know and I can provide you some basic training for these ministries.
Pastoral Visits: I am doing some home visits during the summer. I usually offer prayers, reflections and conversation that may support your spiritual needs. My contact info; firstname.lastname@example.org or at 604-591-8323.
I have met with our church wardens and some other parishioners to reflect on a few ministries centered on our spiritual renewal. Initially, it will start with a sacred gig among the “leadership team”, then the “insiders” of our congregation and hopefully even to the “outsiders” of our faith group.
We have formed a small pastoral team who will assist me in doing home visitation in the next few months. Our goal is to provide an opportunity to have some conversations around what you think the church, -priest, leaders, and members- should start doing, continue doing and even stop doing.
This small pastoral team may also update you on the various ministry of our parish. If you have any suggestions to the above information or should you want to assist the team in any way, please let me know. We would appreciate all the help we can get from each and everyone of you.