Compassion

BY DANIEL LEE

A mother and her child display the Quilt they received from our local partner, Caritas, and the Mother of Mercy Women’s House, an organization that also helps teach skills and trades so families can earn a livelihood.

Have you ever wondered where Jesus and his disciples got their money? How this itinerant carpenter and a grisly group of fishermen funded their evangelistic escapades through first-century Palestine? Women made it possible.

We must assume other funding models were available for Jesus. He might have sought out better-heeled companions, applied for funding from the local Pharisee council or requested a grant from the regional magistrate. But he didn’t. The nature of Jesus’ ministry didn’t mesh with financial support from the ruling class. To minister to the blind and broken, diseased and dying, lonely and lost, he chose a group of rural fisher folk, living on the shores of Galilee. And he chose women as his backers, most specifically “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee” (Matthew 27:56). These women made it possible.

When viewing the ministry of Lutheran World Relief, we must also respond with a similar refrain: women make it possible. Certainly, many men contribute their time, money and talents to a ministry that provides food, shelter and a self-determined path out of poverty to millions of people. We celebrate the compassionate calling of all, lifting up our collective efforts to show mercy to all God’s children.

At the same time, we also lift up those women who have made it possible. From raising the next generation of faithful Lutherans, to leading communities across the globe to grow food, dig wells and invest in their future. Our work in 35 countries depends on women. On college campuses and in congregations, women lead by example — drinking Fair Trade coffee, sewing quilts, wrapping Personal Care Kits, giving LWR Gifts and sharing their voices in advocacy. In all seasons, as we gather around dining and communion tables, we remember our callings and the divine compassion made incarnate in the Virgin Mary and the grace of the resurrection first witnessed by Mary Magdalene. These women made it possible.

PRAYER

God, who chose a woman to deliver his Son, who called women to sustain Christ’s ministry and who imparted to women the good news of the resurrection, likewise chooses us in birth, sustains us in life, and imparts good news to us to death. We remember the women of our lives, living and departed, who continue to guide our callings and exemplify the love of Christ in our midst. In Christ Jesus, who gives us life and love, AMEN.

Daniel Lee is LWR’s Vice President of External Relations