Holy Week: The Anointing


Mary of Bethany, who came to anoint Christ for his burial in Matthew 26, performed an act of faith and devotion that even his chosen Twelve were unable to perform for him.

She understood that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah, the Son of God. She also knew, and had the courage to confront, that Jesus was going to die. She wasn't in denial of this fact. She didn't attempt to change this reality through violence or vengeance. She accepted it and came to perform the anointing for his body.

What she knew to be true, Jesus was still fighting with the Twelve to get them to understand and accept. They resisted the truth they didn't want to hear. As a result, they were unprepared to help him in the coming days the way he needed them to.

What we can gather about the struggle here is one we still see in the Church today: women will have access to divine truths that men will not have the faith to discern. And when the source of that truth is a woman, they will not believe it because women are not reliable sources of truth to them. Even when Jesus corrected them for criticizing her, saying the ointment she brought to him wasn't wasteful because it was for his burial, they were still in denial that he was actually going to die.

The Church has done a great deal of work to bring women, their voices and perspectives, into the administrative circles of the Church. There has been over a decade of training on the importance of councils with women on them, delegating assignments to women, making women and their contributions more visible. The mileage may vary, but a significant portion of church membership knows this is how things are supposed to work, even if they are poor at implementing it into practice.

What I still see, however, is that men in leadership still struggle to accept women as sources of truth they themselves do not possess. There is an attitude still that women are only trustworthy as long as they're repeating back to men the things they already believe. When it comes to the kind of revelation that serves God in innovative or difficult ways, in their minds, those answers shouldn't be coming to women first.

Jesus Christ trusted women. He found willing, capable disciples among them. They exceeded the faith of his chosen Twelve many times, and Jesus used their faith as examples to these men to challenge their entrenched gender bias. Jesus Christ didn't subscribe to the rigid gender binary that men subscribed to in that day, and it's a struggle he is still having with men to this day.

Jesus was the perfect teacher and advocate for women. He did not tolerate the disrespect that so often defined being a woman then. He doesn't tolerate it now. And as we contemplate the spirit of Easter, celebrating the liberation of the captive, this is the liberation I still find myself praying for.

The hope I have for the future of the Church is the one where we finally achieve the equality Jesus spent his entire life teaching about. Where the preferences and ignorance of men in leadership is no longer a stumbling block to me on my pathway home to my Heavenly Parents.

I've never prayed about this where the answer has ever changed.

"What are you going to do about it?"

Answer: Never stop telling the truth. Never stop reaching for what Jesus taught is my right to receive. Reach out and take what is mine, regardless of how men try to obstruct me. And most importantly, make sure I keep the way open for others who come after me. I'm not the only one hurt by the gender binary. I'm not free until we're all free. And like Jesus, I will stick with it for as long as it takes, even if it takes another two thousand years.

No comments:

More Posts from Me

The Unimpressive Origins of Anti-Queerness in the LDS Church

"Sister Collins, why don't you believe being queer is a sin like the rest of the righteous, obedient Mormons?" Because despite...