Should women be embarrassed or embraced?
While August is marked by the African Union as the month to celebrate achievements of African women and inspire them to take leadership in various aspects of life and the same month is a month of Mary Mother of God, women are consistently embarrassed on their shortfalls and conspicuously not embraced for the good they do. The three readings of the previous Sunday in the Catholic Church in the whole world amplified the significance of the question; should women be embarrassed or embraced? instead of exploiting the position of weakness of women, God embraced them, raised them and used them to demonstrate his power.
The first reading was from Revelation 11:19; 12:1-6, 10. The scripture is about a woman clothed with the sun and moon under her feet with crown holding twelve stars and in labour pains ready to deliver a son. On alert was a huge red seven headed dragon with ten horns with crowns on each to devour the child immediately upon birth.
Reading these and other verses of the same chapters it would be seen that this beast had reputation. it had not just dragged one third of stars of the sky and threw them on earth but also lost in the war that broke at heaven.
Two important things happened here, the child was snatch to the God’s throne and the woman fled to the dessert where God prepared her a place. The second reading 1 Corinthians 15:20-26, 28 is about the power of God over all other authorities. it promises that Christ will overcome all spiritual powers, authorities and handover the Kingdom to his father. it says that when everything has been put under Christ, then Christ himself will place himself under God. The gospel according to St luke 1:39-56 gives highlights of Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, confirming miracles and an exposition of secrets of Mary’s faith. When she greeted elizabeth, the child in the elizabeth’s womb leapt with Joy.
In her magnificat song Mary describes herself as the humble and praises God for having chosen her as lowly servant to the throne. She praises lord for bringing down the powerful from the thrones lifting up the lowly, filling the hungry with good things sending the rich away empty and scattering the proud with all their plans. When Mary was earlier approached by angel Gabriel about God’s decision to make her mother of Christ, she was told that elizabeth, who for purposes of reproductive life was with her husband Zacha- riah deadwood, was six months pregnant.
Though women have made several strides to develop their lives, organisations, societies and the world, they are always pulled by leg either for their shortfalls or for the weakness of other women elsewhere. Where a woman leads a church and preaches her powerful sermons would not go unchallenged, some people mainly men would tell how unqualified she is to preach simply because she is a woman.
Many women are ridiculed and embarrassed for the shortfalls of even at eden. Normally when such utterances are made, men justify their powerful social position and self-proclaimed righteousness before God.
however little is appreciated that in the second reading where it is said that just like all people die because of their union with Adam they will be raised because of their union with Christ, Mary as the mother of Christ demonstrates how God highly regards women regardless of how lowly the world, perhaps patriarchal societies like lesotho view them. if a woman manager makes a good decision it goes unrecognised but when she makes similarly unpopular decision with her counterpart, it will be magnified for embarrassment purposes.
Should women be embarrassed or embraced? When Zachariah, the husband of elizabeth was given the message by the angel that they will conceive, he refused. May be because of his wide and respected wisdom as the elder of the church he found it too belittling to accept such an illogical message that her wife at that age would ever conceive. As a result he lost speech, but look at Mary, while she also found it weird that she could conceive without knowing a man, she ultimately submitted to the will of God “i am the lord’s servant, may it happen to me as you have said”. From their humble social position women can have revolutionary thinking to recreate the world, change politics, improve economy and indeed lead executive in lesotho as they are already leading legislature and Judiciary.
The dragon which wanted to devour a baby was defeated, the boy was born and he became great. in the similar manner the peaceful vision, the prosperous nation, the technologically advanced society and all the aspirations that women in their own award and difficult social and political positions has opportunity to materialise. in politics and elsewhere, women ideas are not embraced but the dragon of the contemporary times, the structurally violent society awaits to devour women’s ideas for the new society to main status quo.
But just like the original dragon was defeated, the patriarchal society that shuts women out, that instils in women that they cannot lead political parties that have potential to win government shall be defeated. if they cannot readily lead and play active role as it may be desired, should they be ridiculed and embarrassed for that or be embraced for the good they do so that they become more confident and stronger? Mary’s magnifacat song celebrates rewards for a woman who humbled herself to the wish and will of God, it is an encouragement to women who might be humbled by social architecture to follow their inner feeling to serve their people in the way the angel of God tells them.
if you are in politics and you truly believe that violent politics should be turned into peaceful encounter and you are scared that the party structures and social perceptions will bar you from reaching your potential, refer to the magnificat and strive for the good, do not let anyone stop you from realising your good vision simply because you are woman.
As it is said in the magnificat, Lord who dethrones the powerful and put the lowly in the high positions will certainly empower those who in their socially relegated positions wish for peace and remove from power those who use resources at their disposal to entrench oppressive tendencies, procedures and norms, and perpetuate laws and systems that disturb peace, violate human rights and make life miserable for others.
The Perhaps disclaimer that this should not by any standard be taken to be a theological scholarship endeavour is necessary. it is a purely lay Christian attempt and a dropout seminarian humble appreciation of the scripts. instead of embarrassing women about weakness of their own making or ascribed, embrace the good they do. Rise women of Africa rise! Khabang Basali Ba Basotho Khabang! Wathint’abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! Halala bomme halala!