“Today at Jeanne Audrey Power’s apartment we saw all her shelves of feminist theology books and on the female face(s) of the Divine–was it all a dream? What about the last 50 years of women’s voices? Does feminist theology matter anymore?” Facebook post.
The above Facebook post sings out at a powerful time in the church calendar.
On the fourth Sunday of Advent, we turn our ears and hearts to the song of Mary: the Magnificat. It is a song taught her through the voices of her ancestors, since her kinswoman Hannah generations before sang much the same song when she found she was to bear an unexpected son, Samuel by name.
The song resonates with the voices of God’s prophets through the ages: God uses the least in order to proclaim that the vision of the Holy images fullness of life for all. The mighty are brought to the level of the least. The poor are filled with the food of life and soul that integration into community can bring. The world can and will turn from scramble for power over to cultivation of power with in order that all might know grace.
And, Mary marvels, God calls her blessed in her decision to magnify the Holy. A thirteen year old girl who says “yes” to bearing the Word Made Flesh is called blessed.
Her song is sung and it resounds in our midst yet.
And, the song of woman is strangled yet. A recent article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune shares this sobering fact: one in three women in this nation have experienced violence directed at the Word Made Flesh of their bodies. Women are targets of violence meted out through fists, through advertising, and through the sorts of systemic violence that creates a culture in which women who lead and women who sing are subjected to derision and barbed-wire ceilings.
Was it all a dream, the Facebook poster asks? Can it be even timidly conjectured that Feminism has wrought the sort of systemic change it sought to name and challenge? Does anyone care?
Who is singing woman song any more? And why is it there seems to be a “there, we did that” sense that the song is needed no more?
The ways we language through worship and public discourse is bound yet by images of the Holy as male muscle-flexer. Introducing inclusive language through mindful choice of prayer and hymnody can make for exquisite challenge. The resource aren’t much there. And the push back is relentless.
The song is more powerful than our cultural penchant for ostrich-stance.
I care. My daughters care. My men-beloveds care. The Holy cares.
The song of woman is the song of life and thousands of years ago a young woman took up the song and the world was changed.
Oh, that we would carry on the song of the Word. We are called to magnify the vision of God.
We are blessed.