Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Remembering Our Stories at a Women's Seder

Today the women's group at my church sat down to a women's seder meal in honor of Passover. It is Holy Week at my church, a time that manages to be both busy and reflective. The seder meal gave us a chance to gather together in celebration and prayer.

During this seder, we remembered the stories of women in the Bible -- women such as Miriam, who hid her baby brother Moses by the river to protect him from Pharaoh's orders to kill newborn Hebrew boys. It was Miriam who danced in celebration after the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea.

"And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron,
 took a timbrel in her hand; 
and all the women went out after her
 with timbrels and with dances."
Exodus 15:20 

Image by Joshua Bousel via Flickr
As we drank from the four cups, we followed the footsteps of the Hebrews' deliverance from Egypt. As we dipped herbs in salt water, we tasted tears -- our own tears and the tears of our sisters from ancient times, We spoke the names of loved ones who had passed away, learning that speaking the names out loud keeps them alive in our hearts.

We remembered the stories of those who came before us. We remembered our own stories and looked ahead with wonder to those who will come after us.

Image by paurlan via Flickr
I was struck by the intermingling of the past, present and future during this meal, and I thought of the ways in which we keep memories alive. Every year we speak the names of those who perished on September 11, 2001. We speak of past horrors, such as the Holocaust of World War II and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, in order to keep history's lessons alive.

I think of the modern-day Miriams who are leading us forward -- women such as 2011 Nobel Peace Prize winners Ellen Johnson SirleafLeymah Gbowee, and Tawakkol Karman and their nonviolent work for women's rights. I think of the promise we see in young women such as teen-aged Malala Yousafzai, who continues to speak up in favor of education for girls.

These women's names will be spoken by future generations to keep alive the struggles for women's and children's rights around the world.

Today's seder meal reminds us to remember and speak the stories of the past. Years from now, our younger sisters may speak our names and gather strength from our own stories.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful post about your Sedar and the memories of those who have gone to their reward before us. I really enjoyed the names mentioned of biblical women as well as correlating them with modern day women heroes. A very well thought out post and I am excited for you that you are enjoying (and fluorishing), in your new church home at Southminster!!

Judith C Evans said...

Thank you, John, glad you liked the post!

Christy Birmingham said...

Thank you Judith for sharing inspiration here that reminds women to keep being their best and pushing for positive changes! xx

Judith C Evans said...

Glad you liked the post, Christy! It is important for women and men alike to remember that each of us has an important story.

Cecilia Marie Pulliam said...

Beautifully stated, Judith. We thank God that we still have brave and courageous women willing to risk it all in order to make the world better for the rest. I am sure God has a grand place set aside for them in His kingdom.

Judith C Evans said...

Amen to that, Cecilia. I believe that we are all courageous, whether or not we feel brave. Happy Easter to you!