Week of 4 Easter, Year Two[Go to Mission St Clare for an online version of the Daily Office including today’s scripture readings.]
Today’s Readings for the Daily Office:
Psalms 119:49-72 (morning) // 49, (53) (evening)
1 Thessalonians 2:1-12
One of my male friends is an emergency room nurse, and, because of his gender, he occasionally gets mistaken for a doctor. Those of us whose gender doesn’t correspond to the stereotypical member of our profession might recognize this experience. For my part, when I wear my clericals, I am sometimes mistaken for a nun! Thankfully we can draw strength from today’s second reading, in which Paul doesn’t allow gender expectations to define the boundaries of his ministry.
Paul uses both masculine and feminine images to describe the work of himself and his colleagues among the church at Thessalonica. He writes, “we were gentle among you, like a nurse tenderly caring for her own children.” And he also reminds the congregation, “we dealt with each one of you like a father with his children, urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God.” Paul and his co-workers act as (female) nurses as well as fathers.
It seems that Paul and his fellow apostles will adopt whatever behaviors are needed in order to care for others, no matter how those behaviors are gendered in his society. They offer tender care and unfailing encouragement as their fellow Christians grow in response to God’s love. Paul’s example can inspire us to bring our full humanity, rather than some gender-restricted norm, to our own ministries. Today, we can worship and serve God with our whole selves.
Lora Walsh blogs about taking risks and seeking grace at A Daily Scandal. She serves as Priest Associate of Grace Episcopal Church in Siloam Springs and assists with adult formation and campus ministry at St. Paul’s in Fayetteville, Arkansas.