Well, it’s that time of year again. International Women’s Day.
Yep – IWD falls on the first Friday during Lent.
I don’t know if there are two things that could be more glaringly contradictory.
But how incredible is the timing.
I mean, leave it to God to really remind us of the true meaning of equality.
Ash Wednesday, marks the beginning of Lent. The most holy season of our faith. Forty days of penance, fasting and abstinence where we humble our hearts in preparation for Jesus’ Passion, death and resurrection.
It’s the absolute most beautiful time, where we get to reflect on our place in the world. Where we embrace humility, and remember that we are to live our lives in response to the most incredible gift ever given: Jesus’ life on the Cross.
And Ash Wednesday, we come together in humility and receive ashes on our foreheads as the outward sign of our need for a Savior.
“Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” –That’s what the priest says as he draws the cross on your forehead.
*Bam.* Leave it to Jesus to really just lay down the law.
Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.
If there was ever a “truth bomb” about equality, there it is.
Ash Wednesday – the day where the body of believers — male, female, children, priests, lay persons, old, young, rich, poor, from all over the world — wear an outward sign of ashes on their foreheads in humility to show that we are all broken and in need of a Savior.
We are all equal.
No one can save themselves. No one is higher or better or VIP – we all are dust, and to dust we shall return.
God showed us a beautiful picture of true equality.
How hollow, and shallow and out of place, then – just two days later – does this International Women’s Day feel?
A day that, in recent years, has become about shitting on men (excuse my French), and about combative feminism: with images and slogans about p-$$–‘s and vaginas in some sort of sick battle cry.
I don’t like it. It makes me feel icky.
Women have a beautiful dignity and feminine genius, all our own. Why do we need to sink to a level of crude and vulgar slogans and desperate aggression?
Jesus, himself, in His ministry, was so pro-woman. First and foremost, God chose Mary, a teenage girl, to bring salvation into the world. Women were at the foot of the Cross. Women were the first to realize His resurrection. He fought for, defended, included, and respected women through every aspect of His ministry.
He cultivated and cherished our feminine genius – The inner most, intrinsic parts of us that make us beautifully female: our receptive nature, the miracle of our life-producing bodies, our relational nature, our ability to be tender and gentle and strong and resilient all at the same time. These traits are expressed and lived out in unique and individual ways, in whatever vocation we choose — be it as a kick butt business woman, a teacher, a coach, a doctor, a mother, a religious sister, the President of the USA – as women, we bring our feminine genius to whatever path God sets before us. And it allows us to fulfill our calling in a way that only a woman can.
And most importantly, our genius complements the qualities of a godly man.
God knew what He was doing when He created us male, and female.
And He knew what He was doing when He calls us all to humility on Ash Wednesday – reminding us of our equality as broken sinners, in desperate need of Jesus.
Remember that you are dust and to dust you shall return.
This Friday, on International Women’s Day, you won’t hear me hootin’ and hollerin’ and carrying a sign about Grabbing P—-’s.
I will be quietly thanking God, not only for the gift of my feminine genius, but for reminding His children that they are all one and the same: equal as dust, and in desperate need of a Savior.
It turns out that a smudge on the forehead is the greatest sign of feminism there could be.
Will you be observing Ash Wednesday? How do you prepare for Lent?
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