Year B, Creation Time 1, Lectionary reading for September 12, 2021; Proverbs 1:20-31
I have to admit, when I read this scripture from Proverbs, I found it particularly timely. An image of Dr. Theresa Tam, standing on a wall with a mask in one hand and a vial of vaccine in the other formed in my head—Wisdom herself, warning of disaster and distress if we ignore her counsel.
It doesn’t take much study to notice how conspicuously absent women are in much of the Bible. The writers and compilers of biblical texts did not hold women in much esteem. But here in Proverbs, as well as in a few other places, wisdom is depicted as feminine. Scholars have a few theories why this is, but no one really knows. Whatever the reason, the scarcity of feminine imagery in the Bible means we should sit up and take notice when it does appear.
A lot has changed since King Solomon’s time. Women can read and write, vote, make decisions about their reproductive health, marry whomever they choose, and pursue whatever careers they would like. Right? Much has changed for the better, but recent incidents in Afganistan and Texas demonstrate that even in 2021, women’s rights are still on shifting ground.
In 2017, women in the United States saw their rights threatened by a man with no respect for women. The day after he became president, more than 450,000 people marched through Washington in the Women’s March, shouting messages of love, equality, civil rights, disability justice, healthcare reform, and yes, women’s rights. It was the largest single-day protest in US history, and women around the world held marches in solidarity. Wisdom raised her voice in the public square!
Heather Dean Brewer’s storybook is based on the experience of a real little girl in the Women’s March. At the beginning of the story, Mari is unsure that anyone will hear her message, but her mother promises the whole world will hear. Mari makes a sign that says “love is powerful,” and during the march, other people join her chant and make the message echo off the surrounding buildings.
While reading the scripture from Proverbs with your children this week, talk about how important it is to shout out our wisdom from the public square and the city walls. Injustice thrives when the wise are afraid to speak up. Our New Creed declares we are to “seek justice and resist evil,” and that means standing up for ourselves and others when our rights are threatened.
While this book is specifically about the Women’s March, bring photos of other important marches, such as the recent Black Lives Matter protests, the Idle No More marches, and the Arab Spring protests. Talk about how people around the world make their voices heard when they see injustice, even if it means risking arrest or injury.
Questions to ask before you read:
- What is wisdom?
- How do we get wise?
- Why is it important to spread wisdom?
Questions to ask after you read:
- What does the message “love is powerful” mean?
- What message would you like the world to hear?
- If you can’t shout your message from the city walls or the public square, how else could you spread your wisdom?
Thanks for reading, and welcome back! I missed writing for the blog this summer, but I had opportunities to rest, relax, and work on other projects. I hope you’ll continue to read my posts. You can make sure you never miss one by subscribing, or follow me on Facebook. Storybook Ministry is reader supported, so if you are able, please visit me on Patreon and consider making a regular donation to keep the blog up and running. Thanks again!