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Women of Faith

March 8, 2021

“What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?” Romans 8:31

Today is International Women’s Day. Yesterday happened to be the commemoration of Perpetua, Felicity, and their companions, martyrs for the faith. In the year 202, the emperor Septimius Severus made it illegal to convert to Christianity. In Carthage, in North Africa, a group of catechumens (those studying the faith who had not yet been baptized) was arrested and imprisoned. Because of the edict of Severus (not Snape, who would never do such a thing), they were sentenced to death in the arena as part of the military games offered in celebration of the emperor.

Perpetua was a young noblewoman and mother of an infant. Her father came to her in jail and urged her to deny her faith. She pointed to a water jug, asking her father if he could call it by any other name than what it is. When he replied that he could not, she stated, “Neither can I call myself by any other name than what I am – a Christian.” Boldly she declared, “We know that we are not placed in our own power but in that of God.” Felicity was a slave who was pregnant when she was arrested. She gave birth to a baby girl who was raised by a Christian in Carthage. They faced their deaths bravely, never wavering in their faith and seeing in their deaths an opportunity to witness to the crowds. They worshipped the God of life, not the Caesar of death.

On this International Women’s Day, we gave thanks for the witness of Perpetua and Felicity, two African women who remind us that so many women have led the way in speaking truth to power, undermining the reign of death’s tyranny, and pointing to Christ. I celebrate the strong women in my life, especially Erika, Greta, and my mom. Keep leading the way!

Be well, friends. You are loved.

God, we thank you for the witness of Perpetua and Felicity, for all the women who have gone before us, and for the women in our lives, without whom the world and the church would be much poorer. May we all work for a world that is truly equitable, a world in which your reign of grace casts out the tyranny of power. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: The “Inspirational Women” puzzle that our family put together yesterday. 1,000 pieces of awesome.

From → COVID-19

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