Unnamed women run the world.
Inspired by the Dodge SuperBowl commercial about farmers, Lutheran World Relief answered with their own commercial that celebrates women farmers. On February 7th, Sara Geneva Noreru Kerr posted it on this blog. Rural Women produce more than half of all food grown in developing countries, yet own less than a third of all land. Women all around the world work the land tirelessly to produce food to feed their families and to feed us. May we remember these women this Lent and thank them for sustaining us, giving the respect that they and their work deserve.
In the Bible, we celebrate Mary and Mary, Martha, Ruth, Rebecca, Phoebe, Sarah and Lydia to name a few. There are also unnamed women who have a profound affect on Jesus. Take the Syrophoenician woman who called herself a dog in order to persuade Jesus to heal her dying daughter (Mark 7:25-30). Or the poor widow who, in giving two coins, shows more generosity of spirit than the rich (Mark 12:41-44). Or the unnamed Samaritan woman who Jesus asks for a drink of water (John 4:1-15). If you look for unnamed women as you read the Bible stories, they are everywhere. Jesus welcomes them, heals them, learns from them. They are at times in the scenes, and at other times, we must imagine them behind the scenes comforting children, making food, keeping the world running without asking for riches or recognition. This Lent, let us look for these unnamed women in our stories and in our midst and offer them the dignity of attention they deserve.
My friend had her first child a few months ago. When I asked her how her Henry was she said, “He is great. He is learning how to laugh. You can see him have the emotion, but he either comes out with a pant or a squeal. He hasn’t quite found his belly laugh yet.” She went on to talk about how her life has changed so drastically. She is focusing not on what she has given up to be a mom, but what Henry has brought to her life. She says, “Who rationally says, ‘I want to bring a human into the world and be 100% responsible for that human, even though I know this human is going to break my heart over and over again by being human?’ It’s crazy. But that is what God did, by deciding to create. It’s risky love.” Moms don’t get paid for this risky love, they don’t always get recognized, but they keep the world running. They give us life and love. This Lent, let’s take time to dignify mothers in the world with the admiration they deserve.
Right now, unnamed women are running the world. Mothers and female farmers are just a few examples. This Lent, Lord, open our eyes and hearts to the work and sacrifice of these unnamed women in our midst. Help us be grateful for their sustenance, wisdom and love. Help us to change our world to see what real, life-giving power looks like so that these women begin to be named and celebrated.