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Scriptural Stations of the Cross: Station 9

February 26, 2013
Photo on the separation wall

Photo on the separation wall

Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem.

Executions have always appealed to the darker side of some people, so that it is not surprising that a large crowd followed Jesus on his way to the cross.  Not all of the crowd was hostile, however.  Among them were a number of women, who wept and lamented Jesus’s death.   Even though he was in agony, Jesus spoke to them, warning about difficult times to come.

Women were always an important part of Jesus’s ministry. They followed him, learned from him, provided for him, and came to him for healing. They stayed faithful at the foot of the cross.  In fact, the first person who saw Jesus after his resurrection was a woman, Mary Magdalene; and he commissioned her to bear the news to his other disciples.

Women throughout the centuries have endured economic, social, political, and religious discrimination.  Despite progress in some areas, women still face real challenges.  That is true in Jerusalem, and in the Holy Land as a whole.  None of the Christian denominations that control the Church of the Holy Sepulchre recognize women clergy.  Arab women face an unemployment rate that is three times that of their Jewish counterparts, and their culture frowns on them leaving their village to work. Their access to education is more limited and their dropout rate is high.  Despite the fact that Israel grants Arab women citizens the vote, there are no Arab women members of the legislative body.

Jewish women also face different forms of discrimination.  The ultra-orthodox culture enforces limitations on women in some sectors.  Women cannot get a divorce unless their husband consents, regardless of the circumstances.  Some ultra-orthodox men regard it indecent to portray women in public advertisements, so one can see pictures of women spray-painted over in bus stops and on walls.  Recently, women were arrested for wearing prayer shawls and reading scripture aloud at the holy site of the Western Wall.

Jesus died for all, including women, who are fellow heirs of the kingdom of God.  Anything that limits their potential hinders them from being all that God has called them to be.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

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