There is a consistent narrative throughout history of women not being believed or taken seriously, but the truth has always been that women’s and survivors’ stories are crucial. The story of the Easter Women is as powerful for women of thousands of years ago as it is for women today. Reverend Dr. Barbara Edema’s piece is earnest and compelling, and it makes use of one of the most important stories in her faith to illuminate the ways in which women and survivors can find strength and healing.
by Rev. Dr. Barbara Edema
The Easter Women came to the tomb with sorrow, tears and ointment to cover the smell of death.
The Easter Women came to the tomb of the one who had lifted them up, gave them a voice, and honored them as women.
The Easter Women came from a culture where they were property, where they could be abandoned, where they had no worth.
Jesus changed all that for the Easter Women.
Because his resurrection from the dead was for them.
The Easter Women saw it first. No dead body anywhere. The stories in the gospels differ, but they saw angels and Mary saw Jesus himself.
The Easter Women found the good news first.
There were men that day. Jesus’ best friends and his disciples. The Easter Women brought the best great good news to the men.
And the Easter Women were not believed. Their story of resurrection fell on skeptical ears.
Jesus had spent his ministry seeking women who were outcast in their own communities. He gave them resurrection and new life.
He defended a woman who was judged and set to be killed, because apparently, only women committed adultery. He gave her resurrection and new life.
He healed a bleeding a woman. Resurrection and new life.
He was merciful to a woman who had lost a child. Resurrection and new life.
He was friends with two sisters and raised their brother from the dead. Lots of resurrection and new life.
To you Easter Women, please believe this: resurrection and new life are for you, too.
Easter Women, have you ever not been believed? Have you told the truth with your whole heart and had your words fall on skeptical or condescending ears? Were you dismissed? Were you called a liar? When, in reality you are a truth-teller. You speak with authenticity. You are not invisible. Our words are powerful. Our honesty is believable. Resurrection, new life, and our truth are real. We will believe that the one who has called us blessed and worthy, is the one who speaks the truth.
Easter Women, do you work for less pay than your male co-workers? Have you had your childcare taken away? Is there no place for your school-aged child to go after school anymore, because that’s gone, too? Are you wondering how your health will be cared for? Do you listen to men who know nothing of your life, telling you how to do your job, what you may and may not do with your own body, and expect you to take it?
Wait…is this sounding like a political statement? Sorry, it’s meant to be a human statement.
These days it can seem insurmountable. Our steps toward equality and fairness were steps made in the sand. And someone has washed away those steps. This is where Easter Women come together. We march together. We hold one another. We walk into dank, dark tombs together with sorrow, tears, and ointment to disguise death. But resurrection is ours, too. New life is our gift, too. We will believe that the one who has called us blessed and worthy, is the one who speaks the truth.
Easter Women, have you ever been touched or grabbed where you didn’t want to be touched or grabbed? Did you believe you were expected to take it? Did something worse happen to you? Did something happen to cause part of your heart to die, part of your soul to die, something that left your eyes empty? It’s hard to come back from the dead. But I know it can be done. I really do. Along with some of you, I have walked into tombs, and have walked out again. Resurrection, healing, wholeness, and new life are possible for all of us. YOU are an Easter Woman.
Easter Women, are you healthy in spirit, but sick in your body? Easter can seem somewhat lackluster when you feel like hell. You will be well. This is what I believe, we all will be well. We may be healed from disease on this earth. We may be healed from disease into eternal life. In fact, at some point, we all will be healed into the hands of God.
Easter Women, there are so many other issues we could chat about. We each have our own concerns as we love, mother, work, friend, and family in our lives (yes, I used “family” as a verb. It’s my blog). But like the first Easter Women on that first Easter morn:
We walk together, sometimes in despair, sometimes crying, sometimes hopeless, sometimes filled with hope, sometimes overflowing with joy, all the while we know that someone, a really Good Man walked this earth, he empowered women, he healed women, he died for women, and he rose again for women. Because we are part of the story. We are part of the “raising the dead” story. We are the ones he talked to first. We are the ones who shared the story first. We are the ones who haven’t stopped talking about it for over 2000 years. And we rock.
Who else is capable of giving new life?
So…Happy Easter. Happy resurrection. Your life is renewed and renewing.
Reverend Dr. Barbara Edema is a pastor, author, and survivor. She writes fiction and non-fiction. Her “Pastor Maggie Series” is available on Amazon. She is the pastor of an open and affirming church in Grand Ledge, Michigan.