I am strange. Those of you who know me well won’t argue. Part of my strangeness is that I really like listening to sermons! One of my all-time favorite sermons is by a man named Fred Craddock who passed away in 2015. He was a gifted preacher, a devoted professor, and a passionate and compassionate Christian.
The title of the sermon was “When the Roll is Called Down Here,” (you can read the sermon at “Preaching Today” by clicking on the title of the sermon). The text for his sermon was Romans 16. It’s an unusual text for a sermon. The text is basically a list of names. A list of names of Paul’s ministry partners. A list of fellow believers. A list of those who made Paul who he was.
Craddock brings home the fact that this was more than a list — “Don’t call that a list. It’s not a list.” For Paul, this was more than a list of names. For Paul, it was the Church. For Paul, it was the fiber of who he was.
As I read this list again recently, I remembered the sermon with fondness, but I was surprised again by Paul’s list that is more than a list. What surprised me was the number of women on Paul’s “list.”
He calls these women sisters, saints, and workers in the LORD, fellow prisoners; even one woman receives the title “mother.” The affection, the respect, and the recognition of these women by Paul is obvious yet too often forgotten.
One can argue about Paul’s theology of women in ministry, but his practice is clear. By his own words, his own admission, and his own list, Paul recognises that he couldn’t have done it without them.
As I thought about Paul’s list again, I took Craddock’s sermon to heart once again and began to think about my own list. That list is sprinkled liberally with women — peers, friends, mentors — a list that made me who I am, a list that influences me everyday, and a list that is more than a simply list.
Therefore, beginning on March 8th which is recognized as International Women’s Day, and continuing to the end of March. I want to honor these women by sharing a few of them with anybody that reads this blog. The series will consist of twenty-four daily posts — some posts written by me sharing the impact that these women have had on my life, but, more importantly, some of the posts will be written by these women themselves.
I hope that this month you will join me in remembering the women on your list, honoring the women in your life, and celebrating women!