‘THE WOMEN BEAR WITNESS’ an easter reflection
this year, at a moment when the world has been stirred again by the clear and present violence against women, against non-white people, against the disabled I want to look at what those women in the gospels did over easter weekend.
Recently I have had a lot of Conversations with very angry women.
They are angry because men are still surprised when we point out violence to them.
They are angry because if they bring it up again they are considered a problem, dismissed for not getting over it or being more positive.
They are angry because every time this happens and a new wave of protest wells up they are told that they aren’t doing it right – aren’t polite enough, are too emotional, aren’t giving enough evidence, have too many examples.
They are angry because when they do it right they are still not believed. When they are the holiest, most chaste, most devoted, they still must be witnessed by a man for their experience to be taken seriously.
This is what happened in the case of Ravi Zacharias, and Jonathan Fletcher so many in the church and outside it.
It has happened with many men we know.
And We know.
We tell each other stories.
We bear witness to each others pain and we cry with one another and we say’ I believe you – now how are we going to convince the men?’
The male disciples flee. Only the beloved disciple remains. With Jesus mother.
the women stay.
They bear witness to the brutalising of Jesus body and they hear the cry of desolation. They hold his pain.
And then they work out what to do.
They gather the herbs and cloths they need to deal with the body. They know that they must go and face down the death of their friend, their son. They must physically hold his brokenness, dress his wounds and wrap his limbs and witness his death is done right.
They not only do not turn away but they cannot.
They know their duty and they practice it for him like they have for many others – witnesses and bearrs of joy and sorrow, birth and death.
And then they arrive at the tomb and it is empty.
Mark tells us they ran away afraid.
Mary weeps, losing her Lord a second time.
And then an angel gives them a message and the women know that they believe one another. But they must now convince the men.
The women I have talked to recently feel similarly set apart in holding the brokenness of their sisters.
We know the fear of going to the men with our testimony.
We know that our word is not as valuable as the word of other men.
We sit and hold the brokenness of our sisters, dress their bodies, wrap their limbs, we even witness their resurrections. Oh Yes. Because we do rise.
The women go to Peter and he needs them to show him the place of their pain and fear and revelation. He cannot believe them, though they stayed for the death and the watched for the dawn.
He cannot take their word, for they were seeing it through their distress so it could not be trusted.
This easter, let the testimony of women be enough.
This year, let the ones in pain be the ones you listen to, take their word as truth, don’t be like peter, do not say we are too distressed to be reasonable and demand our pain to be performed again. Do not make us show you the place of our pain.
Say “Sisters, we believe you”.