When I was starting to preach and be trained as a Local Preacher in the Methodist Church in 1978, apart from studies, lectures, exams etc I belonged to an excellent group which met in Cardiff, at the home of the University chaplain. It was a brilliant group about 5 or 6 of us and we met to discuss theology, usually as a result of our reading a common book or theme. It was so good to have a group where we were all safe, could utter whatever we wished and delve deeper in our theological understandings. Theology is what we should be about! It is at its simplest, the study of God.
It is May and is traditionally the one of two months of the year when we think expressly about Our Lady, Mary the mother of Our Lord. Mary who was the first Christian as she held the very Gospel in her heart and the humanity of God, Christ in her uterus. Mary who was young, but committed, Mary who was obedient to God and who served God. Mary shows us all so much about faith, her faith and how we can be challenged by it today. Mary was Our Lord's mother but as a woman, also inspires us and encourages us as we seek to follow and serve.
I have been given a book "Mary is for everyone," and I am slowly making my way through this. It is a collection of essays about Our Lady and also about ecumenism. Mary is so much more than the plaster statues of her, we can learn so much about her through icons, readings and of course prayer. Mary the mother, certainly took control of the running of the house, children and still supporting and listening to the voice of Jesus. We also need to recognise our roles as women who have a God given freedom and are not without the ability to be women of choice, dedication and service.
So give thanks today for women, for the great things they have done throughout the years and for women who mark the way ahead. For women who have awaken an awareness of Christ in you, who have ministered, who have literally had to "fight" their way within the church, in all denominations. For Our Lady who is such an example to us.
The red rose which was so often related to Mary, the mother of Our Lord.