I’ve been a Provisional Elder in the United Methodist Church for three whole months now. It has not taken long to see that gender equality is not a reality; as much as we may want it to be. Male and female clergy are seen differently – often unequally. There’s no doubt that we have made huge strides in the right direction. I actually just said I’m a Provisional Elder, for goodness’ sake; the letters R E V go before my name! I’m an associate pastor at a great church in the Florida conference. Not all women who have received a call from God to pastoral ministry can say that; not all women are allowed to say that, even today. I’m ever thankful for the women who have come before me and have blazed the messy, painful trail of women in ministry.
But like racial issues, gender issues are still extant issues – In the world, certainly, but also in the church. What about the Kingdom? All inequality, including gender inequality, is a direct product of the Fall (Genesis 3:16-17); but since the Church is the body that proclaims the present and coming Kingdom of God, the redemption Christ accomplished on the Cross, we are called to dismantle those barriers. So let’s identify these barriers; let’s call them out; let’s bring the lies to the light; let us proclaim the truth that ‘there is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:28).’ God’s kingdom come, God’s will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.