Rev. Najuma Smith-Pollard Pastor, St. James A.M.E. Church
"Women of Courage, Agents of Change!"
By Rev. Najuma Smith- Pollard
Pastor, St. James A.M.E. Church
As a Pastor, I'm often in conflict over the stories of Women in the Bible. Preaching their stories is challenging, and often times troubling. Truth is, in biblical times, a woman was regarded with little significance, short of bearing male children, rearing them and fulfilling her calling to her husband (her covering).
If she was raped, she had to depend on the men in her life to speak-up on her behalf for Justice.
If she was a widow, she was primarily dependent on someone taking up her cause and that of her children.
If she was accused of breaking the "law", even if there was a male accomplice, she stood alone to be judged and sentenced.
So when we read the stories of women who broke-out against the norm or what was acceptable at that time, it is a grand celebration and encouragement for all of what can be accomplished when we step out on faith for the sake of Justice, Righteousness and Liberation. In addition it is an illustration of what God can do through us!!
I am reminded of the story of Zelphohad's daughters, who faced a troubling future now that there father was dead and his entire estate would be given over to the next male in line in the family. His daughters did the unspeakable and unthinkable that eventually changed the future for women of that nation going forward.
At the probate hearing, with Moses and all the leadership of that time...these women, Show up, then Speak up and God heard them and the 'law' that in terms denied a daughters her rights and her father's inheritance, was changed on the spot!
v. 8 "Say to the Israelites, 'If a man dies and leaves no son, turn his inheritance over to his daughter.'" Readers, when you get some time, read the account in full, Numbers 27.
Their courage is indicative of so many women of courage we celebrate this March (Women's Month). Women who courageously challenge systems, government and injustice for their rights, equality, justice and the posterity of their families and community.
The new century will require no less of us, but that we continue to rise up and be women of courage to help make changes that bless not only ourselves but also the communities in which we live, work and worship.
The issues before us are clear: Health care disparities, HIV/AIDS and its impact on the community, financial crises and unemployment, and the list goes on and on.
Make a commitment this year to be engaged. Lend your support and or partner with successful organizations that are leading the way in addressing these issues; and even dealing with the question of how policy is shaped around the issues that affect us.
I've found out that women of courage often become agents of change!