Isaiah 16: 1-5
“Send a lamb to the ruler of the land,
from Sela, from the wilderness,
to the mount of Daughter Zion.
And it will be that like a wandering bird
pushed from the nest,
so shall the daughters of Moab be
at the fords of the Arnon.
Receive counsel, daughter; grant justice;
make your shade like night at the midpoint of noon, daughter.
Daughter, shelter the outcasts, the fugitive, do not expose.
Let them settle among you, daughter, the outcasts of Moab;
be a shelter to them from the destroyer.”
For when the violence is no more,
and destruction has ceased,
and those who trample have vanished from the land,
then in faithful love shall a throne be established
and on it one shall sit in faithfulness in the tent of David,
rendering judgment and seeking justice and swift to do right.”
Psalm 33: 11–22
“The counsel of the JUST ONE stands for all time,
the thoughts of her heart to all generations.
Happy is the nation for whom the CREATOR OF ALL is their God,
the people whom she has chosen as her heritage.
From the heavens the MOST HIGH looks down;
she sees all the woman-born.
From her eternal throne she gazes upon
all who dwell upon the earth.
She who fashions their hearts alike
is the one who discerns all their doings.
A monarch is not saved by a great army;
a warrior is not delivered by great strength.
False hope is a horse for salvation,
and its great might cannot save.
Look, the eye of the FAITHFUL ONE is on those who revere her,
on those who hope in her faithful love,
to deliver their souls from death,
and to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for SHE WHO SAVES;
she is our help and shield.
In her is our heart glad,
because we trust in her holy Name.
Let your faithful love, COMPASSIONATE GOD, be upon us,
for it is you in whom we trust.”
Breathe Daughter breathe, I’ve got you.
let them settle
do not expose
be swift to do right
let your love compassionate God be upon us
for it is you in whom we trust
In her is our heart glad
The above words and phrases jumped off the page for me as I reflected on these two passages. Sophia calling out to Daughter Zion to stand for justice, to give shelter to the daughters of Moab. Going even further. Protect and do not expose them. Oh what feminine grace. Grace and love put into action, swift to do right. Love is a verb as they say, and I am so grateful for the women who stand up and act with their hearts. We all know regardless of how much talk says “times have changed,” there has been little action behind the words. Women still need each other to protect each other as we stand in places where, in all honestly, those in power would rather us stay silent or accept the status quo.
The journey is hard and the scars are deep and real. I fear that even we sometimes forget the pain carried by those whose wings we find shelter under. Look deep into the eyes of each other to see the pain and celebrate all of our parts both when we have stand up over and over and when we have helped others to stand up.
I have thought so much in recent times of the illusions we sometimes carry that we are to give selflessly over and over again. I believe we can unconsciously think in the end that sacrifice will be enough, that it will be seen and make a difference. Yes, in the grand scheme maybe it will. But when we need to receive same care, it is a rude awakening to know that we stand alone. The support we had may not be what we thought it was. It should not be this way. I take to heart in the passage: shelter the outcasts, the fugitive, do not expose them. I know when I am honest, I have also felt like the outcast and the fugitive in my thoughts, after speaking up and feeling exposed and betrayed. I think I am not alone in longing to find safely and shelter among my fellow sisters, looking into Her eyes and Her looking into mine and truly being seen, loved, and valued for who we are. In those times I see Sophia wisdom, and when I think I may be drowning, I begin to learn to breath under water.
Rev. Dr. Tina Bailey is a visual and performing artist, an ordained minister and an Endorsed Chaplain. She helps people discover their own healing through multiple trauma informed disciplines. Tina has worked in response to traumatic situations around the world. She holds workshops and leads contemplative retreats facilitating healing and integration of the whole self through creativity and imagination incorporating drama, dance, music, visual arts, improvisation, and spiritual practice. She has served as CBF Field Personnel for over 25 years.
All four images are original artworks by Tina Bailey.
This blog series made possible in part by a gift from Myers Park Baptist Church, Charlotte, NC.
If you or your congregation is also using Year W this liturgical year, we would love to hear from you. Please email us at email@example.com. Further resources and online conversation about using the Year W lectionary can also be found at Wilda Gafney’s website: https://www.wilgafney.com/womenslectionary/