Phenomenal woman

by Dionne Gravesande last modified 27 November 2018 11:35 AM
Phenomenal woman

Photo: Christian Aid Ghana.

27 November 2018

Without peace, there is no justice. Too often, we pursue justice at the expense of peace, and peace at the expense of justice. To conceive peace apart from justice is to compromise the hope that “justice and peace shall embrace” (Ps. 85:10). When justice and peace are lacking, or set in opposition, we need to reform our ways. Let us rise, therefore, and work together for peace and justice.

The Ecumenical Call to Just Peace that went out from the International Ecumenical Peace Convocation in 2011 reminds us of that.

Women across the world are an integral part of humanity’s cornerstone because no nation can hope to move ahead if it is leaving half of its population behind. Let’s be clear, gender equality is a right, and fulfilling this right is the best chance we have in meeting some of the most pressing challenges of our time, whether that be the economic crisis, climate change, or ending violence against women. We have learned that not only are women affected by these problems, but they also possess ideas and the leadership required to solve them.

I am and remain completely inspired by the word and work of the late Dr Maya Angelou. She was an African-American author, poet, civil rights activist, and playwright. Her powerful words and actions had a profound influence on women and men all over.

Maya grew up in racially segregated America; as a young woman she survived rape and sexual abuse and discriminations. The trauma resulted in five years of silence in which Maya stopped speaking audibly; instead she spoke through her poetry.

I learned that Maya found real meaning and comfort in her Christian faith. She resonated with our hope, our pain, our ambition, our fear and our anger and reminds us that in spite of it all, we are still created in the image of God.

She lived in the hope things can and do change, she didn’t just want to be a phenomenal woman herself. She wanted all of us to become phenomenal women right alongside her. That’s powerful to hear!

Words have real power. God spoke the world into being by the power of words. Being created in God’s image also means we can use words to transform. During these 16 Days of activism against gender-based violence, we want to ensure that the words and voices of faith leaders and faith actors are heard to shift the norms and values in relation to gender justice.

Pray, speak out, show your commitment and solidarity through movements such as Thursdays in Black and Side by Side.

We seek the transformation of our societies which often find it easier to judge the victims of violence than to solve the problems of injustice. Join with me in prayer to pursue change.

Prayer:

Creator God, we give you thanks that you call us out of silence to name hidden and domestic violence. Today we pray for all women who, despite suffering from violence, continue to care for their families and children

We pray for women who are trafficked as domestic or sex workers; for women who are raped and do not know how to find words to name their pain or a way into the future

We pray for right and just relations between women and men that together we may transform and overcome violence in all its forms and learn to celebrate our diversity and interdependence

We look forward to the age of peace, when violence is no more and both women and men are able to love and to be loved, and the work and wealth of our world is justly shared

Amen

Disclaimer

The impressions, hopes and ideas expressed in this blog are the contributions of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policies of the World Council of Churches.

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