Welcome to Wading in the Waters of the Word™ with A Women’s Lectionary

Gentle Readers, Followers, Preachers, Pray-ers, Thinkers and Visitors, Welcome!

Welcome to this space where you can share your worship – liturgy and preaching – preparations – using  A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church. We begin in Advent 2021 with Year W, a single, standalone Lectionary volume that includes readings from all four Gospels. (We will continue with Year A in Advent 2022 to align with the broader Church.) In advance of each week, I will start the conversation and set the space for you all. I will come through time to time, but this is your space. Welcome!

Media Resources

A Women’s Lectionary For The Whole Church

Session 1, October 16, 2021
Rev. Wil Gafney, PhD at Myers Park Baptist Church

Plenary 1 | Translating Women Back Into Scripture for A #WomensLectionary
This session introduces participants to frequently unexamined aspects of biblical translation in commonly available bibles and the intentional choices made in “A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church.”

A Women’s Lectionary For The Whole Church

Session 2, October 16, 2021
Rev. Wil Gafney, PhD at Myers Park Baptist Church

Plenary 2 | Reading Women in Scripture for Preaching, Study, and Devotion
This session provides an overview of “A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church,” its genesis, production, and content. There is also an in-depth exploration of specific passages appointed for specific days including time for public and private reading and discussion.

Lectionary Lectio

Click the Comment links to add to the conversation

Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary

What’s A Sista Got to Do?

Annunciation Tryptich by the late Robert Moore

Annunciation Tryptich by the late Robert Moore of the African Episcopal Church of St Thomas where it hangs in Philadelphia PA.

What’s a sista got to do to be respected in these androcentric man-besotted religious streets? Spontaneously reproduce without pleasure or pain (according to some traditions), never have sex (according to some), get bodily snatched up into heaven and avoid death (another tradition)? What on earth, in and under heaven are we doing with Jesus’s mama? Past generations of churchly men piled all their fear and loathing of women and, their desire for women and sex onto and then off of the Blessed Virgin by making her chaste before and after her miraculous conception, birth-giving and even marriage. Let a sista have an orgasm.

Judith 13:18 Uzziah said to Judith, “O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all other women on earth, and blessed be the Holy God, who created the heavens and the earth, who has guided you to cut off the head of the leader of our enemies. 19 Praise of you will never depart from the hearts of women and men who remember the power of God.

What’s a sista got to do to be remembered by name in these androcentric man-besotted religious streets? Kill a man with his own sword, hack at it a bit because the spinal cord is tough, throw the head into your kosher lunch bag and sneak out of enemy territory. Even with all of this, the minor but louder tradition of Christianity, Protestantism, cut a sista out of their Bible with a quickness. The rest of us, the majority of Christians on the planet, still have Judith and her blessing that was reworked to bless the young unexpectedly pregnant virgin Miriam from Nazareth. (Or was it Ya’el’s blessing after she ghosted that rapist by penetrating him in his tender flesh? What’s a sista got to do to remain unmolested in her own damn tent?)

What’s a sista got to do to construct a holy, wholly healthy humanity (with room for horniness) out of the crumbs – crumbs under the table and crumbs that as Sista Macy (Gray) testified, “your crumbs of lovin’ no longer get me by?” Is there anything in the idolized manmade Virgin that speaks to a woman in this world of sex-positivity, gender plurality, trans bodies, frustrated angry celibates, guilt-ridden lovers, bad church teaching and worse preaching?

Deconstruct the BVM and reconstruct her in her image. It’s Ok. We’ve been doing it all along, ironically, following the in the footsteps of those old churchmen but wandering along new paths and carving out yet more.

Today I see in her, rebellion and resistance. Rebellion and resistance to family and societal and even theological norms that told her what was going to happen to her body. When she opened her mouth to question the announcement that was made to her, she took ownership of her body and her future. And to no small degree, mine.

What’s a sista got to do to stay in a androcentric man-besotted Church without losing her ever-loving mind? Have looong talks with the Ever-Blessed Virgin Mary about these men and their mess.

Elder Sister
Hey Girl
Hail Mary
Full of grace
God is with you
Blessed are you among women
And blessed is the fruit of your womb
Holy Mary
Mother of God
Pray for us sinners
Now and in the hour of our death


Pentecost 10

Public confession: I don’t get the sense that I have a congregation of folk waiting on these reflections which permits me to be irregular with them unlike if I were preaching every Sunday. If you are looking forward to them, let me know and I’ll do better. I’ll try to do better anyway but it’ll motivate me if I know someone really wants or needs these early enough to help with their preaching. 

Big Men

It’s hard to avoid the veneration, if not worship, of big men in most religious traditions. Prophets, messiahs, saviors, warrior kings — they all tend to be male. When women are represented among the holy and royal echelons, they are often portrayed as unique, a rarity, an unfortunate necessity, a Jezebel (and not in a good way – and there is much good to say about Jezebel) or, a broodmare giving birth to the really important person, meaning, man. Even the dominant portrait of God is as a big man in the sky.

This week’s readings start with the selection of David and all the promise of youth and the sweetness of young love. It bears asking if David became who he always was with power as the catalyst. Or was there something of this sweet earnest young man that could have been saved and preserved? The throughline about David in the readings also provides an opportunity to reflect on infatuation with monarchy, particularly in the United States. Samuel tells how God was reluctantly badgered into a human monarchy for Israel after Judges records an earlier three-year experiment with it. God’s first choice, ignoring Abimelech in Judges (suggesting the author of Samuel did not have access to that material) fails and Samuel, representing God, rejects his repentance – an important, concerning and often overlooked storyline. So David is made to shine against Saul’s ashes. If he was as adored in life as he was and continues to be in literature, is it no wonder David became who he became.  

Crowning Jesus with the legacy and lineage of David was supposed to be a good thing. Proof that he had the right some kind of way – overlooking that his genealogy goes through Joseph with some gaps before it gets around to Mary – to rule Israel in a literal sense with genealogical bona fides. As though that were ever God’s plan for Jesus. Rather than continuing to name Jesus as the son of David, A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church intentionally names Jesus as the son of Bathsheba, the Son of Woman, the son of his many mothers whose legacy and lineage he bears in a body that was broken as were many of theirs.  

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