I crossed a thing off my bucket list this last week. I got to preach a women’s retreat. It was as much fun as I thought it would be. I got to stand in front of a room of women and tell them all the things that were true, about them, about God, about the way God made them. I have known for a long time that this was something I wanted to do, and I am so grateful for the opportunity to finally do it.
Ironically, or perhaps not, while I was preaching my face off at this women’s retreat, while I was telling these amazing women that God made each of them on purpose, that God would go searching for them in the wilderness, would always welcome them back home, some man who I will not be linking to told the world women should go home. He scoffed at the idea of listening to what marginalized groups have to say about the Bible. He rolled his eyes at the idea of LGBTQ people made in the image of God. And the internet has not been able to stop talking about it. I got sucked into the vortex too.
But that was not the important thing that happened this past weekend. At least it wasn’t in my world. No, the important thing was that I got to see all the amazing work these women I spent the weekend with are doing. I got to hear about the impossible work of trauma recovery, the good hard work of advocating for the elderly. I got to hear about work being done in elementary schools, and non-profits working with foster kids. I got to hear about the ways that this work has brought people’s hearts close to the systems that are desperately broken.
These twenty or so women I got to preach to were already doing the work of the gospel. They trusted me with their frustrations and anger at the injustice of it all. They pushed back on the things I had to say and they let me know the parts of the Bible they don’t like very much right now. They told me about the things they hoped to one day do, the non-profit they want to open, the hats they make for people who are cold. They promised to send me a church cookbook. I am going to hold them to that.
I was struck, yet again this weekend, by the millions of ways God has equipped each of us to bring the good news. I was struck by just how much good work there is to be done. I was amazed and astounded by the work that was already being done by these twenty women.
There is so much work to be done. There is so much good work to be done. The harvest is so plentiful. The workers are so few. There is so much justice to be fought for and so many people to feed. There are so many casseroles to be made and so many kiddos to hug. There are so many hats to be knit. There is so much justice to fight for. There is so much grief to be grieved. There is so much to laugh at. There is so much joy to be found.
I think it is trash that some man in a room full of other white men would take the opportunity to remind everyone of the lie that only they are qualified to preach the gospel, that anyone who is not straight, white, male, and able bodied doesn’t have a place at the table. I am so so so grateful that they don’t get to decide.
It isn’t their table. It isn’t their gospel. It isn’t up to them. The good news is for everyone and includes everyone, and if it doesn’t do that then it isn’t good news.
At the end of the weekend my friend who had invited me read pieces of Sarah Bessey’s commissioning from Jesus Feminist. She encouraged each of these women to go and do the work that God has uniquely called them to do. She encouraged us to find the things that we are home in, and do them with great abandon. For me, that is preaching. I am at home in the pulpit. It is a home God has made for me. You too have the home that God built for you. I pray you find it. I pray you go and do just exactly what God has called you to do with wild abandon. And I pray you are too busy doing that work to fool with the fools who think they get to decide.