My daughter loves gold and sparkly and my (one) son loves pigs. So obviously spotting this gold, sparkly pig as we walked into a church lobby after a friend’s concert was a Rivadeneira family win-win. As I stood waiting for my kids to stop oohing and ahhing over its goldy goodness, a woman from the church walked up.
“Did you see what the pig is for?” she asked.
“Women in our church have been raising money for lepers for more than 100 years,” she said. “Remarkable, really.”
And then she walked away, while I walked closer to read the hand-written words behind the pig, which one hundred years later was still raising money for American Leprosy Missions. I got a little weepy. For 100 years, the women of this church had committed to doing as Jesus did–healing lepers. And I got a little humbled.
I’m one of many Christians who tend to think we’re the first generation of “believers” to care about the troubles of the world. And I’m definitely one of the many Christian women who–in our fights for opportunities to use our gifts–think we’re heading into territory no other Christian women have trudged before.
But that’s not true. In that one church, women have taken the lead and sought justice and healing for people with leprosy for 100 years. In The Church, women have been doing seeking justice, living mercy and showing neighbor love since the time of Jesus.
And it’s important that we don’t forget who they are.
Right off the bat, I think of Frances Willard and Jane Addams, here in Chicago. I think of Mary Magdelene and the Woman at the Well from Scripture. All women who trying to change the world (or their small neck of it) while following Jesus.
Who are some of your favorite examples?