Deaconess Ellie Corrow
"In the beginning He created them. Male and female He created them."
Women are fearfully and wonderfully made. As women. Femaleness is not secondary to women's existence as humans, rather it is written into every cell of their bodies. To be created as a woman isn't a prison, something to be escaped or endured. A woman's jailor is not gender, but sin, death, and the devil, from which you're liberated by Christ in the water and word of Holy Baptism. As baptized daughters of God, you are given occasion to rejoice, and the freedom to serve your neighbors in grace and mercy, in whatever vocations God provides.
Femininity is not an obstacle Christ must overcome as He sanctifies you, it is not a sin to be a woman, and female saints are no less valued by Christ than males. Indeed, even when women are called the "weaker vessel," this isn't meant to indicate a deficit, instead the phrase expresses that you are the fine china of creation. It illustrates the care with which you're to be treated, because you are treasured by our Lord, who counted many women as His friends.
To be a woman is to be more than the sum of your parts; your femininity finds its expression as you use the many talents and abilities God has granted you, in service to your neighbors. A bright mind, a talent for music, or art, or law are not temptations laid out for you by a trickster God, waiting for you to fall for the distractions of the world. No, these are just other avenues, other opportunities, other tools to use in your vocations. As such, you are free in Christ to use them as you see fit-they may make for more fruitful homeschooling, heal the injured patient, teach the struggling student, or find justice for the oppressed.
We do violence to God's Word when we read it with our eyes trained on the turmoil of this present age, attempting to glean some promised cure-all for society's ills beyond the forgiveness and mercy of Christ. Instead, we should let Scripture be Scripture, and in doing so we will see there is not a passage anywhere which suggests women have only one way in which they may care for and support their neighbors, only one way in which they may be women. On the contrary, Scripture illustrates a variety of women who utilized the various gifts and resources in service to neighbor and the Church. To recognize this is not to say that men and women are interchangeable, it merely honors the Church's witness.
When we allow God to define Godly Womanhood, we see something that is far from monolithic; instead we see that it looks like Deborah, Jael, Esther, Phoebe, Anna, Lydia, Mary, and Martha. Godly women do not to look for the holiest vocation in which they may serve, rather they receive the repentance and forgiveness of God, placed on them in baptism, poured into their mouths and ears in the Divine Service, and freely serve those whom God has given them, with the tools He grants out of His divine goodness and mercy.
Dcs Ellie Corrow serves as the Missionary Care Coordinator for the Office of International Mission. She can be reached at Ellie.Corrow@lcms.org.
Created: May 27th, 2015