Soul Food: Women's History Month
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung
March is an important month for women, marking it as Women’s History Month and celebrating International Women’s Day on March 8. These highlight the contributions of women to history and contemporary society as well as recognizing the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
As Christian people, this is a wonderful opportunity for us to reflect and honor both the named (187!) and unnamed women of the Bible. These are the women who have deeply impacted our spiritual development by their courage, faith, hope, actions, and words.
In the Old Testament, I reflect upon Queen Esther, whose story is about wisdom, courage, and the providence of God. Esther was an orphan raised by her uncle. She was chosen to be the Persian King’s new queen. With that, Esther and her cousin, Mordecai, find themselves in roles that could prevent the genocide of the Jewish people, her people. Risking her life, she bravely confronts the king and thereby saves her people. When we need examples of bravery and courage, we can look to Esther! (See the book of Esther for the complete story).
In the New Testament, I am drawn to Luke 8:43-48, “Now there was a woman who had been suffering from hemorrhages for twelve years; and though she had spent all she had on physicians, no one could cure her. She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his clothes, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. Then Jesus asked, ‘Who touched me?’ When all denied it, Peter said, ‘Master, the crowds surround you and press in on you.’ But Jesus said, ‘Someone touched me; for I noticed that power had gone out from me.’ When the woman saw that she could not remain hidden, she came trembling; and falling down before him, she declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. He said to her, ‘Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.’”
Here is an unnamed woman who had been suffering for twelve years with an illness. This woman was uncurable, untouchable and an outcast. She was desperate for healing, wholeness, and connection. She knew that if she would just reach out to Jesus, she would be healed. What a testimony to the power of faith, relentless hope, and determination! Her healing is a reminder that everything is possible with Jesus.
There are many women throughout the Bible who inspire us; teach us how to overcome adversity; and remind us to keep our focus on God. As we celebrate Women’s History month, let us keep in mind all the inspirational women from the Bible.
Spirit of God, we thank you for this time to remember, celebrate, and honor the women of the Bible. May their stories build within us a deep connection to you. Amen.
Hee-Soo Jung, Bishop
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung has served as resident bishop of the Wisconsin Annual Conference since September of 2012. Prior to leading the Wisconsin Conference UMC, Bishop Jung served eight years as bishop of the Northern Illinois Conference (Chicago area).