A few weeks ago, I stood in front of the church, on a Sunday morning, in front of the congregation, unapologetically female, and read Scripture.
I had been in front of the church before to pray, read Scripture, and talk about communion, but that was with JD at my side. This time, though I didn’t realize before I got up there, was different. I was by myself.
I had seen countless women get up and do this before, and after the first Sunday we were there, I didn’t really take note of it. It was normal. But then. Me.
As I read, I thought about the power of that moment. I read from Acts 2:36-47, an assigned reading, but two words resonated from the pages into my heart–awe and all. Awe came upon the souls of the believers as they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, the prayers, and sharing meals. Awe came upon my soul as I stood there, reading the word of the Lord in front of my brothers and sisters.
And the word all is repeated throughout that passage–all who believed, all things in common, distributing the proceeds to all, having favor with all the people. And here was I, part of the all, part of the whole, taking part in corporate worship. By myself. A woman.
In a culture that has so long put women in the nursery, in front of a children’s Bible class, behind the men, I felt as though I were being transfigured. Or perhaps the church was. It was like the Kingdom of God had slipped under the world’s curtain for a moment and was peeking through, filling me with joy and wholeness and peace.
The Church has so often held on to traditions and looked backwards for cues, but the Spirit moves where it wishes. The Kingdom of God is not a ping-pong match between today and 100 AD. While we learn from our roots and gain from looking back at who we’ve been as a people, we have to move forward. Time is propelling us, and the Kingdom of God is all around us.