22

September 2024

Sep

In Praise of Women Who Lead

Uncommon Wisdom

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B

Over the years, Christians have done a good job of heaping historical and cultural baggage onto Proverbs 31, which makes it hard to come to the text with a fresh perspective.

Over the years, Christians have done a good job of heaping historical and cultural baggage onto Proverbs 31, which makes it hard to come to the text with a fresh perspective. As you plan worship this week, perhaps begin by asking: “Where is the uncommon wisdom in this text? How might this text be intended to surprise us? What hints of the brash and honest Lady Wisdom do we find lurking in this description of ‘a capable wife’?”

The title for this week certainly offers a starting point for engaging Proverbs 31 and these questions. Instead of focusing solely on the wives and mothers in our communities, Proverbs 31 offers us a portrait of women who lead and live in wisdom. Thus, it is a good opportunity, separate from Mother’s Day, to emphasize the role and leadership of the women in your congregation. Perhaps your worship leaders can include members of your local chapter of United Women in Faith. Or one or two of the female leaders in the congregation can offer a testimony of how they live their faith inside and outside the walls of the church. This is certainly also a time to sing hymns by female hymn writers and to lift up the voices of women theologians throughout Christian history in our prayers and our preaching.

It is important, though, to do all these things and more with an eye to how Proverbs 31 calls us to recognize and follow women in leadership every day, not just one or two Sundays a year. Proverbs 31’s description of a woman who fears the Lord in today’s text is one of day-in-and-day-out leadership, relationship, and labor. Centering the voice and leadership of women in worship, then, ought not to be an occasional event, but a consistent effort in United Methodist churches. Women have long been important leaders in the Methodist movement, but the road to women’s ordination has been bumpy (find out more of this history here). Consider how you might use this service not only to open up the deep, historic wisdom in Proverbs 31, but also to share with your congregation the role of lay and clergywomen in The United Methodist Church and the critical importance of supporting and encouraging the leadership of women in our denomination.

Dr. Lisa Hancock, Director of Worship Arts Ministries, served as an organist and music minister in United Methodist congregations in the Northwest Texas and North Texas Annual Conferences, as well as the New Day Amani/Upendo house churches in Dallas. After receiving her Master of Sacred Music and Master of Theological Studies from Perkins School of Theology, Lisa earned her PhD in Religious Studies from Southern Methodist University wherein she researched and wrote on the doctrine of Christ, disability, and atonement.

In This Series...


Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes

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In This Series...


Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost, Year B - Lectionary Planning Notes