Sisters, Speak

(...because a reporter asked what I would say if I could say one thing to the women of the Church.)

Wake up, wake up, Deborah!
Wake up, wake up, sing a song!

Sisters, speak. 

Speak for the lonely, the forgotten, the poor, and the frightened. 

Speak for women silenced by patriarchy, denied an education, displaced by war. 

Speak for the widow, the orphan, the immigrant, and the refugee. 

Speak for your sisters, your brothers, your daughters, your sons, your friends, even your enemies. 

Speak, sisters, for yourselves. 

Speak with the voice of the Prophetess Deborah, a mother of Israel and mighty warrior, who was brave when Israel was weak, and whose victory song declared, “I, even I, will sing unto the Lord.” 

Speak with the voice of the Hebrew midwives, who defied Pharaoh to save the helpless. 

Speak with the voice of the Shulamite girl, who in poetry celebrated the beauty of her own body, though it bore the marks of rural life that drew the scorn of many.

Speak with the voice of Jephtah’s daughter, for hers was quieted too soon. 

Speak with the voice of Mary of Nazareth, whose obedience magnified the Lord, bringing sight to the blind and light to the darkness. 

Speak with the voice of Mary of Bethany, whose discipleship broke with convention but whose valor in sitting at her rabbi's feet will never be taken away from her. 

Speak with the voice of Mary Magdalene, Apostle to the Apostles and the first to shout to a waking world, “He is risen!” 

Speak with the voice of Apostle Junia, who though she was silenced for centuries at the hands of scribes, speaks once again. 

Sisters, speak. 

Speak with valor. 

Speak with love. 

Speak with gentleness. 

Speak with wisdom. 

Speak the Gospel. 

Speak grace.

Sisters, speak.

Speak alongside your brothers, not as subordinates or as rivals, but as partners—co-workers in the mission. 

Speak into this world all that is lovely and brave, all that is beautiful and true, all that is joyous and life-giving and useful and good. 

Sisters, speak, even when they try to silence you, when they belittle you, when they say all kinds of evil things against you, sisters, speak. 

Speak like the Spirit-filled daughters you are, and God will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below. 

Sisters, speak. 

Speak, and the voices you once thought small will echo big and loud in the chorus of a great cloud of witnesses. 

Speak, and watch the mountains move. 

***

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