My brothers and sisters, in the words of St. Paul, let your gentleness be known to everyone.
Last week a nearby restaurant hosted a fundraiser for SAFE Shelter, our local center for domestic violence. There was a gentleman passing the hat, moving from table to table, in a skirt made of purple tulle.
Tulle is worn by brides. Purple isn’t. Purple is the color of bruises. Of households falling apart.
I took the man’s skirt to mean he was wearing the color of domestic violence, a color naming the harm done to somebody by somebody they love or live with. Last month one of you sent me an email saying how October is Domestic Violence Month. It came with an invitation for preachers to lift up “the sacred worth of women” on this very day. So I opened my calendar, and under October 15th, I wrote down, The Sacred Worth of Women. It’s been on my mind a lot lately.
By coincidence today St. Paul commends the sacred worth of two women: Euodia and Synteche. He doesn’t waste a word on how young they are or what they look like. What he commends is what most of us hope is recommendation enough: our work. These women, he says, “have struggled beside [me] in the work of the gospel.”
These women, though, are not docile partners. These women think for themselves. You can tell because Paul wants them to be “of one mind”, which is to admit they often aren’t. But when they are, as Paul well knows, you better watch out. No telling what they can do. And will do. Read more