International Women’s Day Reflection

International Women’s Day Reflection

Sri_Lanka_2015_school_girl_CACM_03.jpgJust one?  Only one day a year?!

If enough people sing and march on March 8th this year, will we change the world and not have to do this again?

Why is it necessary to choose one day and assert – or advertise – that women are people . . .
          human beings who may not match male strength and size on the average, but are equally capable of being
                thoughtful, intelligent, capable.     
When men were hunters and warriors, women took care of home, bore and raised children,
                prepared the next generations for the future.
Now there are more roles for men, and . . . there are more roles for women,
         yet too many people still think of home as where women belong – not in offices, factories, laboratories.

We have an almost unlimited number of ways of dividing humanity into exclusive groups.
         ‘Female’ and ‘male’ is only one of those ways.

Already there are more females than males in the world.
And there are more first-language speakers of Mandarin than of English in the world.
There are more non-whites than whites in the world.
There are more straights than gays in the world.
There are more Sikhs than Jews in the world.

We have watched battles and laws and progress of rights for
        women, children, domestic animals, people of all colors and cultures, all languages and religions, all abilities . . .
                 You can see where this line of thinking doing can – should! – take us.

As long as we think of each other according to our differences, and as long as we assume privilege for whatever we are, we’ll find reasons to discriminate and hate and harm.

Yet we are all God’s people, regardless of what we name God or how we worship.

When we examine our lives as men and women, people with different characteristics of gender and role,
many of us already walk through life together, every day a statement that each of us is indispensable,
each of us a response to possibilities that call all of us to celebrate each other every day.

To set aside just one day to remind ourselves to treat more than half the human population of the world,
        or any segment of it, as fully human, is a challenge that calls us to grow as God’s people.

Our celebrations of each other must be constant individual celebrations of respect and gratitude
        celebrating each day by each of us for each person in our lives. 
                  Nothing less is acceptable – for Christians or for anyone else.

*  *  *  *  *

Gracious God of all that is, we give you thanks for the endless possibilities of life
       as you have set it before and around us.
The many ways of being human make possible endless ways to serve you and each other.
We are tempted to judge some kinds of living or thinking as better, worse, good, bad, acceptable, offensive –  
       without understanding what our differences make possible for all of us.
Turn our heads and our hearts, O Holy One, so we see the wonders of difference and the limits of prejudice.
        Enter the heart and mind of each person
        to see each other person, every difference, all ways of being fully human, as gifts from you to all of us,
        in a world that needs all the gifts and help you give to and through us.
We pray for minds and hearts to appreciate and use what you offer, in the Name of All that is Holy.  Amen.

Andy Jepson serves as a long-term volunteer with the Church of the American Ceylon Mission. She provides chaplain services.

More about Global Ministries’ outreach with women