…you all are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own possession…
I make the decision to translate the second person plural as “you all” so the reader/hearer will know when the community is being addressed as a community.
This week in which women have been rendered less than persons in favor of non-sentient clusters of cells, it is important to remember that in spite of its Iron Age context, the scriptures and the structures surrounding them that furiously limit their rights and autonomy also present women as fully created in the image of God, fully competent.
Because of where I have been invited to preach, I will be using the old lectionary. But were I preaching from Year W, I would start where I have started above. And I would continue here:
That our founding religious documents, sacred secular, share original contexts in which enslavement was the norm and women’s liberty was infringed upon if not outright nullified by men and the social constructs with which they empowered themselves, does not make them God-ordained. We have not limited ourselves to the scope of their scientific and technological knowledge and accomplishments any more than we should to their ethical poverty and moral failings.
The insistent need for children for food production and national defense, in ancient Israel in particular, does not exist in the same way in the world reading the scriptures. The accumulation of enslaved bodies is no longer a sign of wealth – though it would be if the originalists held full sway. But, the inability of many men to identify themselves apart from hierarchy and domination perseveres.
‘Honor your mother and your father’ and ‘Whoever speaks evil of mother or father must surely die.’
You do not honor your mother or your sister or your auntie or your neighbor or strangers by returning them to reproductive slavery.
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