Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Prayer for gender equality

Today Lord we thank you again for deep and resounding mercies that you have knowingly granted us. Help us to realize the importance of equality in our lives and in the world we live. May we learn to respect women and share with them what is genuinely and rightfully theirs. As men, may we pray and do away with masculine tendencies which hurt women. As women, may we pray and stop copying patriarchal power concepts and instead be good human beings to other women who are not comfortably placed as us. May Jesus be our model. He adored his mother for her courage and strength, he loved Martha and Mary for their eagerness to do ministry and he respected the Canaanite woman for her unshakeable faith. Fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit we pray God that we may be good to and do good for the women around us in whichever and whatever way we can. Amen.


abeena iype said...

I think this is a prayer that must be included in our daily payers. Jacobite church has ill practices against women.
In my baptism, as there was no male child baptized after Jan 6, they baptized me in a separate vessel. When the church gives so much importance to the baptism vessel, is it correct? Sometimes when I see the baptism vessel, it hurts me. Recently, we had to conduct my niece's baptism within a limited time due to this practice. Jesus said, I am the vine and you are the branches. He never said male branch represents Him. St. Pauls comparison of man to Christ in the husband-wife relationship is no way necessary to implement in other cases.

Recently, for house warming, I was holding the bowl of water to be blessed.The father then called one of my male cousin standing nearby and asked him to hold that bowl. So should I tell to myself that I am an inferior being who is not worthy enough? Don't even I have the right to conduct the house warming of my own house? Jesus always recognized people based on their behavior not based on their gender.

In the 4 gospels about Jesus, God spoke, men kept silent. So no rules against women, rather He uplifted the status of women. One way, all women are thankful to Jesus for removing ill practices such as polygamy. One or the other way the rest of the world followed it, at least by law, like hindus in India. Some where I read, Jesus as a man is the man every woman seeks for. So, any type of injustice to woman in His church is not acceptable, and is not as in other religions.

When the church is pleading for justice, it must also not forget about the injustice it is doing to 50 percent of its members.

As a woman, I am getting married to have a partner in life, to contribute to the human race, and to continue my lineage. Biologically, a child equally carry forwards the hereditary of both father and mother. In addition, a child depends additional 9 months only on mother. So God has given big role for woman in sustaining life. Even now, the girl babies are killed thinking that only male can carry forward the lineage. Are the patriarchal system not responsible for female infanticide? The number of lives lost through female infanticide crosses the number of lives lost through any social or natural calamities or terrorism.

God and nature are not showing any partiality in the human formation process.Girls have equal share in the family property and responsibility to take care of their parents, and no husband has the right to stop her. Esther favored the Jews after her marriage.
If a woman walks through the road at midnight , the only animal that behaves differently is man, whom she has given life by risking her own life.

When the church realizes that the customs like girl child not taken to the altar, funeral customs are many times used to mock at the parents of the girl child, specially by people having a male child.
Bible says God has no partiality. People are tired by ill treatments faced in the world based on the cast, gender, etc. Church is the home of God. I am coming to the church also to experience that impartial love of God where I feel myself worthy. If the church treats me worse than the world based on my gender, how I can experience God's impartial love.The Church authorities then have responsibility to ensure that I am not treated differently based on my gender.

Women will do anything for their husbands, kids, or families. But when it comes to contributing to the prosperity of their gender, they lack.Women are brainwashed from childhood in such a way that they themselves consider all the customs against them as oK.

Jesus asked us to help the needy and the poor. Mary John must have buried as per her wish at least for the sake of charity. The church authorities must understand that the need not always necessary be for money, food, and shelter. It can even be a baptism vessel or a 6 feet land to rest.

Happy to see some changes happening, but still we have a lot more way to go.

Fr. Jerry Kurian said...

Thanks for commenting Abeena. Let me apologize for the delay in replying to your comment. I am happy that you are one of the few women in the church who has come out and spoken against the discrimination of women in the church. I would agree with all that you have said. Discrimination during baptism is an unhealthy and nonspiritual practice which is more leaned towards patriarchy rather than faith in the church. It is unfortunate that during house warming a male has to hold the bowl of water which is used for sprinkling. So in your case, the house is your's and the bowl was held by your cousin! This again is a practice which cannot be justified along with the Jesus movement which is now the church. Martha and Mary are an example of this and it is said that they were leaders of house churches. By creation, women and men are created the same, to fulfill different roles according to their choice but always equal in the sight of God. If at all, women are stronger than men because women go through the laborious process of giving birth, child rearing, and doing work which many a time don't even fetch any rewards. Christ Jesus never preached inequality. He was always on the side of the poor and the weak. So Jesus is a companion for women in their sufferings and in the discrimination that they face. The sooner the church realises this, the better it is for both women and men. Thanks for writing. I wish more women like you come out to write and speak so that people like us will listen and mend our ways of the patriarchal church and instead trim it to be just the church as an inclusive and accomodative place for everyone. Prayers. May God speed your wishes and dreams.