A Litany to Honor Women

From Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals

We walk in the company of the women who have gone before, Mothers of the faith both named and unnamed,

Testifying with ferocity and faith to the Spirit of Wisdom and Healing.

They are the judges, the prophets, the martyrs, the warriors, poets, lovers and Saints

Who are near to us in the shadow of awareness, in the crevices of memory, in the landscape of our dreams.

We walk in the company of Deborah, who judged the Israelites with authority and strength.

We walk in the company of Esther, who used her position as Queen to ensure the welfare of her people.

We walk in the company of you whose names have been lost and silenced, who kept and cradled the wisdom of the ages.

We walk in the company of the woman with the flow of blood, who audaciously sought her healing and release.

We walk in the company of Mary Magdalene, who wept at the empty tomb until the risen Christ appeared.

We walk in the company of Phoebe, who led an early church in the empire of Rome.

We walk in the company of Perpetua of Carthage, whose witness in the third century led to her martyrdom.

We walk in the company of Saint Christina the Astonishing, who resisted death with persistence and wonder.

We walk in the company of Julian of Norwich, who wed imagination and theology proclaiming “all shall be well.”

We walk in the company of Sojourner Truth, who stood against oppression, righteously declaring “ain’t I a woman!” in 1852.

We walk in the company of the Argentine Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who turned their grief to strength, standing together to remember “the disappeared” children of war with a holy indignation.

We walk in the company of Alice Walker, who named the lavender hue of womanish strength.

We walk in the company of you Mothers of the faith, who teach us to resist evil with boldness, to lead with wisdom, and to heal.

Amen.

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Going All The Way!

I was a Young Life leader (a mentor to high school students) for 10 years, and during that time, I overheard many conversations of young boys who would talk about “Going all the way” with their girlfriends, or some “chick from the party”. As someone now who’s been married for almost 15 years and have gone through quite a bit of suffering with my wife, that phrase “Going all the way” in regards to some sexual feat sounds cheap and dismissive of the real work of love, and the cost of “going all the way”.

This is Calvin Matthews. He has “gone all the way”.

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In 1976, he was out of town for work during the last week of July. On July 31st, his wife Gloria and his fourteen year old son George were home during the great flood that came out of Estes Park, and they both died that day. This drove him to “hit the bottle”, and he began to drink… a lot. In his words, “By a miracle of the great Lord”, he met Thelma at the bar, she had just lost her mother, and was there to have a drink to distract herself from the pain. She wasn’t medicating with alcohol, but Calvin was. Needless to say, they fell in love and she introduced Calvin to the best medicine ever, Jesus.

Calvin said, “The dear Lord used Thelma to save my life.” Years later, after 30 years of marriage, in 2007, Thelma had a stroke and after a series of procedures, she was bound to the hospital and eventually was placed in a nursing home because Calvin couldn’t care for her at home. Since 2007, Calvin spends most of his waking hours their with Thelma, helping her eat, reading to her, singing for her, and making her laugh; he has also become a friend to many others who are bound to their new home.

Calvin is the pastor at that nursing home. He’s also an awesome model of “going all the way” with a woman. We need more Calvin’s in this world. More men who are called to “go all the way” when it costs them everything. This, in my opinion is the remedy for our over sexualized culture that abuses and emasculates men and women.

I pray that I can “go all the way” with my wife one day. Thanks for the example Calvin!