Saturday we started our orientation. Women of faith gathered together at the Church Centre for the United Nations, where the Ecumenical Women Coalition led a day of sharing, learning, and worship. We sang, we praised, we danced, we prayed! As the Canadian Anglican member of Ecumenical Women, and a member of the worship team, I admit my bias when I say that today was GREAT!
Our focus for the time of worship rests in the theme "HerStory, in Her Own Voice." We are committed to hearing the stories of women of the bible, in their own voice. Today we journeyed from Miriam's tambourine-accompanied Song of freedom, through Hannah crying through her song of desperation, and concluded with the pregnant Mary's exuberant song magnifying the Lord.
What these women say has profound meaning, throughout the ages. And they choose their words carefully: they know that what they say and how they say it, conveys the message of their values and their intentions.
What we say needs to be just as intentional. As the chaplain reminded us today, worship is a place where advocacy begins. When we are speaking, we need to be aware of the power of our voices, and the message we are conveying. Our message, as Christians, should be grounded in theology, ethics, and scripture: if it is not, then we fall into the trend of secularisation by refusing to use the very language that informs and supports our faith perspective.
We are privileged to know that we have a voice - individually and collectively. We have the opportunity to use our voices as part of our work for justice and peace. We have the story of our Holy Creator to reinforce our message.
So what is YOUR story? What is YOUR voice? And how are you telling that story? The question applies to us all; how do we witness to the glory of God. The question also applies to our parishes, our communities. As a church, we have the forum and history of providing a strong message. One hopes that the message of today's church (in every format - whether a Sunday sermon or a Women's Group meeting) will indicate that what we are doing with our voice is faith-filled and empowering. Say what you will, recognising that not every voice will be loudly heard, but that every voice can bless and help build the kingdom of God.