I don't do a lot of communicating from the pulpit on Sunday mornings. But I've done enough to realize that some sermons are a lot tougher than others. Wow. This Battle of the Sexes series is one of the hardest sermons I've prepared for, and I'm sure it will be one of the hardest to deliver.
How to be a man of God. How to be a woman of God. Such an important topic, but it's so difficult. It's difficult for a number of different reasons: so much static from the world and the church about what it means to be a man or a woman, so much sensitivity and tension in the topic, so many wounds that people have experienced. There's the tough reality that, no matter what is said, it runs the risk of being misunderstood or misinterpreted by the listener.
Biblically speaking, femininity reveals itself in many different ways. Who should be our role model? There’s Deborah- the warrior and political leader who saves her people. There’s Huldah—the prophetess that gave spiritual direction to King Josiah and the nation of Judah and led them to revival. There’s Ruth—who was known for her faithfulness, loyalty, and ability to win a man through seduction. There’s Esther—who was the most beautiful woman in the kingdom and whose inner strength matched her outward beauty to save a nation. There’s Hannah—who shows us how to deal with depression and how to be a good mother. There’s Mary of the Mary/Martha duo—who teaches us what it means to be at rest in the presence of Jesus. And then there’s that famous Proverbs 31 woman—how many women are tired of living in that shadow?
Right now, it looks like I'm going to do a contrast/comparison of Eve and Mary the mother of Jesus. We don't talk about Mary much in the Protestant church, perhaps as a reaction to the quasi-deification of Mary in the Catholic church. But if we want to hold someone up as the prototypical woman of God, then it might make sense to start with the woman through whom God chose to send his son.