Women: The First Witnesses of Resurrection
Last month, the 8th of March marked the International Women's Day, a day set aside to honor the social, economic, cultural, and political contributions made by women throughout the world. In addition, women's rights movement, highlight problems such as gender equality and addresses injustices committed against women.
Let us be reminded that women were the first who witnessed and testified Jesus’ resurrection as we read in the Bible.
Women endure discrimination in every aspect of life; globally, women earn on average 22% less than their male colleagues for the same work. They are assaulted and harassed sexually, are subjected to domestic abuse, and are victims of human trafficking. In comparison to men, they have less opportunities to attend schools, much less colleges. Women have suffered the most in times of calamity, like as war, as we witness in Ukraine, and the Corona epidemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased this time from 100 years, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap report. It will take another 136 years to close the global gender gap.
This gap is also clearly visible within the church, two-thousand years have passed, and yet women do not enjoy full equality. Throughout history, all around the world women have always been in the majority when it comes to practicing faith and preserving this faith to next generations. Let us be reminded that as this month of April, we are celebrating the resurrection of Christ, -- women were the first who witnessed and testified Jesus’ resurrection as we read in the Bible. After the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, while men were hiding from the Roman soldiers, women were the first who dare to come out and go to His tomb. Actually, women were the very first bearers of the Good News of risen Jesus-- yet today in some circles women are being kept silence as we interpret Paul’s words from the letter of 1 Corinthians 14:34–35.
Patriarchalism within Christian teachings has also arguably made women second-class citizens in the church. From early church period until today women have been persecuted, killed, raped, burned alive because of the faith. Women have contributed to Christianity’s growth in every nation of world, the nation for nearly twenty one centuries, especially by promoting theological discussions and engaging in political, social, and cultural activism. Throughout the world womenhave contributed to charitable work, human rights, the fine arts, literature, and music. They have paid a huge price for believing in Jesus Christ and His message--yet after two-thousand years-- women in certain churches are still not allowed to become pastors and preachers. I have many cases of Filipino women who have been beheaded in the prisons of Saudi Arabia because of being a witness for Christ. In China, where Christianity is growing under the most horrendous situations, women are on the forerun of Christian activism and evangelism.
If God does not discriminate and in one breath speaks of them equally, why should women anno 2022 still be excluded from important ecclesiastical functions that are only meant for men?
As in April we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, we move on celebrating the Pentecost in the month of May. For me, one of the aspects of Pentecost is: celebrating women, our mothers, sisters, and daughters! Pentecost reminds of equality between men and women in society, in the family, at work and in church. In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter quoted the words of the prophet Joel who said that, in the last days, both men and women who are equally servants of God will prophesy (Acts 2:18). What is greater than to be called prophets of God. Therefore, if women can be prophets of God, they also can be priests, and pastors as well. The book of Joel 2:28-29 God indicates that: “...I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy...Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days”. If God does not discriminate and in one breath speaks of them equally, why should women anno 2022 still be excluded from important ecclesiastical functions that are only meant for men? However there is hope: although church culture worldwide continues to be patriarchal, the march toward equality continues, and I stand in solidarity with my sisters in Church who are perusing equality between men and women in the Church.