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Lent 2011

A New Heart and a New Spirit

Day 15

By Rosângela Oliveira, United Methodist Women Regional Missionary, Latin America

Therefore say to the house of Israel, Thus says the Lord God: It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for the sake of my holy name, which you have profaned among the nations to which you came. I will sanctify my great name, which has been profaned among the nations, and which you have profaned among them; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord, says the Lord God, when through you I display my holiness before their eyes. I will take you from the nations, and gather you from all the countries, and bring you into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.

—Ezekiel 36:22-26

A month ago, I was in a setting that can bear a resemblance with the Bible story in Ezekiel and John, a setting that calls for transformation, like the one God asked the people of Israel and Jesus to the scribes and Pharisees. I was with women from all over the world at the United Methodist Women delegation to the 55th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York City. CSW 55 addressed the issue of access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including the promotion of women's equal access to full employment and decent work. We, as civil society in this forum of governments, bring real life into existence through women's and girls' voices.

Give up your stones. Go and build safe schools for girls so they can contribute for a just society. Go and create decent work for women so their communities will be healthy. Go and let girls and women live a life free of violence and the world will know peace.

In that setting, we exposed how women and girls "have being stoned" and created the Jesus way of changing. We heard stories about cultures of discrimination against women that say technology is not for women or girls, and this saying ends up influencing polices that ignore how women create technologies in their everyday life to fetch water or govern a country, to run a website or pick up the right herbs to heal somebody in the community. We told stories about a global economy that re-creates the condition for child labor or trafficking in humans, or jobs that do not provide personal dignity, family stability and peace in the community.

We brought to that setting women who have been "stoned." We didn't do this in the same spirit of the scribes or Pharisees, to test Jesus or to trick governments. We did this for women's and girl's voices to be heard, so Jesus could say to the ones with the stones: Don't you see what you've done? Give up your stones. Go and build safe schools for girls so they can contribute for a just society. Go and create decent work for women so their communities will be healthy. Go and let girls and women live a life free of violence and the world will know peace. As Jesus' story, we all become responsible for the new alternative he created among the crowd and to the woman.

In this time of Lent, we prepare ourselves for the deepest transformation we can go through as human being or institutions: getting a new heart and new spirit that we may have the fruits of the tree in abundance so nobody will go hungry anymore in our global community. May we walk this time with Jesus and we will see that death has been challenged.

Prayer

God of peoples, who we know as the Lord God, look at us with compassion and love, change our heart, empower us, so we can be like that woman who went on with her life knowing that her voice can transform the world. Amen.

Last Updated: 04/16/2014
 
 

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