Easter Reflection

By The Rev. Ann Tiemeyer, Program Director for Women's Ministries

Picture it. Thirty-five young adults ecumenically gathered, representing global diversity, cramped into the NCC conference room, engaging in contextual Bible Study on Mark 4:3-9 - the story of the woman who breaks open the jar and anoints Jesus. They are preparing to participate as a unified witness in the United Nation's 57th Commission on the Status of Women where the priority theme is "the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls." Comments spring forth and bounce around the room as they deeply examine the Biblical context and how it connects to their own context: 

  • She never speaks in the text 
  • She got a reaction, even though she did not speak.
  • Her actions were her voice.
  • She heals Jesus who is heading toward death.
  • She is not named.
  • But she will be remembered.
  • Will we get to speak at the UN?
  • Will we be heard, even if we don't speak?
  • Will our advocacy actions be our voice?
  • Why are the un-named women we know?
  • Who are the victims and survivors of violence?
  • We need to remember and name them.
  • We need to break open the jar of healing ointment - breaking the oppressive systems and together heal our broken violent world.

Even though the woman in the Biblical text does not speak a word, her actions loudly voice the need for change that can heal. Jesus, having been ministered to by the women, declares, "Truly I tell you, whenever the Good News is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her."

In Holy Week we remember the violent death of Jesus and we wrestle with the violence in our world. We may feel as speechless as the un-named women with the jar of ointment.  But we also remember another woman, a woman who from the depths of her grief and tears heard her name called - Mary. Having been called by name, Mary proclaimed the good news, "I have seen the Lord."

The woman with the anointment, Mary at her empty tomb, our sisters and brothers sitting next to us in church and walking beside us on the street; they all remind us to remember that violence and death is not the last word. Even when we don't speak, our actions give voice to the Good News. God calls us by name and the Good News springs forth and bounces about our broken world as we shout: Christ has risen, Christ has risen indeed.

This Easter let us together be a unified witness as the healing body of Christ in this broken world.

To learn more about the unified witness of the ecumenical delegation to the United Nation’s 57th Commission on the Status of Women go to www.ecumenicalwomen.org