I am reminded as this month of March begins, of my dear ministerial sisterhood. Those who came before have helped make this a place that welcomes us all into religious leadership. Not only am I grateful to historical mentors like those first women ministers Antoinette Brown Blackwell and Olympia Brown, I feel kindred threads with the Iowa Sisterhood, with the generation of women who first filled pulpits in the late 1970s and early 80s, like Diane Miller and Lindi Ramsden, then welcoming in women of color who served in ministry like Marjorie Bowens Wheatley and Michelle Bentley.
I find my ministerial sisterhood of these current days still surrounding me with a strength and solace that feeds my own ministry. Last week, my colleague, Stefanie Etzbach-Dale, who serves the UU Church in Santa Clarita, in L.A. County, posted her elucidation of prayer as an invitation to consider deepening into it for the month.
Prayer is said to be the truest expression of human experience: of yearning, fear, rage, love, gratitude and grief. It is a “taking off of garments” designed to camouflage and protect the most “tender corners” of the heart!
It is an act of “holy submission” to that which binds you to life; and an act of defiance, against that which would tell you that you are inherently, irretrievably: faulty, unworthy, alone!
Prayer is a slow circling, a steady growing, sacred opening; it is a falling into and rising out of; it is breath taken and given! It is the dissolution of “no”, and the crackling flame of “yes, of course”! Prayer is soul-talk! It is faith-walk. It is around-the-clock seed-stock, from which unfurl vines of righteousness!
Thank you, Stefanie. Thank you, sisters in ministry. Thank you for allowing me to connect more fully into life, with you, to myself and into the divine.
In the faith of the free,