practing lent 3        
We are all made in the image of God.  All human beings have God’s characteristics. His fingerprints were left upon us when he molded us out of the ground, formed us, and placed us in the Garden. His traits are in us because his Holy Spirit was breathed into human beings to give them life. That being said, I think women have a distinct way of seeing beauty in the world. We provide a different perspective on how the world operates and how God’s beauty can be seen in the world around us. I think this gift also allows us to speak distinctly about God’s beauty.
The concepts of grace, love, and beauty are popular buzzwords for postmodern theologians. Perhaps you have recently heard a sermon, read an article, or heard a young adult wax eloquently on these topics. I believe the Holy Spirit is bringing these topics to the forefront because they are what the world needs to hear so badly. These ideas are certainly not new for the Church.  In fact, the mystics of the Church have been emphasizing and prophetically calling the Church back to these concepts for centuries.
           Women have been subdued for a very long time. We’ve been silenced, in most cultures, since civilization was formed. Even in the Church, a place where we are supposed to have freedom and equality in Christ, we have been marginalized. As Salvationists, we are blessed to be a part of a movement that helped push women into their proper place in the Church: as equals.  The Holy Spirit has been trying to do the same thing for many years by speaking to select women in powerful ways.  Perhaps because we do not hear of women leaders in the Church before the 1800’s, many are surprised to know that a large percentage of mystics in the Church were women.  Many of these women received enough attention to have their God-given dreams, visions, and words written down by men and were venerated as saints in the Church.
The message given to these women mystics, in a time dominated by male voices and interpretations of whom God is, were important balancing words.  At times, those women were lone voices crying out.  In the same way that God spoke those words of beauty, love, and grace to the women mystics of the Early Church, he is speaking to our culture today.  Those words and concepts can have healing power for our families, culture, and churches. Let us meditate upon these concepts and make them a part of our message.
I believe God is speaking special messages to women today to help create a healthier Church that will bring more glory to God.  Will you commune with God so that he can speak to you?  Will you allow your perspective to help the Church move forward and focus more on our Creator? Are you willing to speak what God is saying to you, even if you are a lone voice crying out?
By: Courtney Rose, Salvation Army Soldier from the Salvation Army Mayfair Community Church in Chicago and Adjunct Professor at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, IL. 


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