'God of the Women'
Performed by Chantelle Lindsay
Set the familiar tune of 'Be Thou My Vision', Presbyterian minister Carolyn Winfrey Gillette reimagined the lyrics with words that empower women and celebrate women leaders and preachers.
'This hymn celebrates women in ministry and mentions specific women in the Bible and faithful women of today,' says Carolyn.
'The first verse describes examples of faithfulness found in Sarah, Hannah, and Ruth.
- The second verse's reference to "Way" is one of the earliest descriptions of Christians (Acts 9:2)).
- "Mary, Joanna, Susanna and more" comes from the story in Luke 8:1-3, a story of women who supported Jesus with their financial resources.
- "Learning to pray" is a reminder that Jesus taught women as well as men, going against some customs of his day.
- The third verse recalls the painful history for women of faith. "Left out of stories" refers to the way in which biblical writers often ignore women (for example, Matthew 14:21 tells that Jesus fed "five thousand men, not counting the women and children"). These slights are minor compared to what Phyllis Trible has written about in her Texts of Terror — the biblical stories like 2 Samuel 13:1-22 and Judges 11:29-40; 19:1-30.
- The reference to the smiling at a girl's birth is a positive one, yet too few of the biblical stories celebrate girls' arrivals or list many women in genealogies.
- The fourth verse begins with the Easter story where women were the first witnesses to the resurrection. Acts 1:14 tells us that women joined the other followers before Pentecost and also were empowered by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-21).
- The fifth verse refers to Phoebe. Paul's personal greetings in his Letter to the Romans has this statement: "I have good things to say about Phoebe, who is a leader in the church... she has proved to be a respected leader for many others, including me" (Romans 16:1-2 CEV). The footnote in the NRSV Bible says the position that Phoebe held can be translated "minister;" as it is in the one other place the Greek word appears — when it describes a man (Ephesians 6.21).'
Watch this stunning performance of 'God of the Women', reimagined for the Launch of 'Raise Your Voice', to celebrate the women of the Bible.