Ds Michelle Boonzaaier van NG Kerk Brackenfell en I Am Ministries, skryf:
Dear Melanie and Jana*
I send you my love, appreciation and so doing, honour your leadership in the Dutch Reformed Church.
“God is ’n vrou, sê NGK-leraar.” Loosely translated, God is a woman, says DRC minister, the church that I have been a part of for the past 20 years and a minister in for 15 years. My heart wants to leap for joy, when I see this headline (Die Burger poster,15 April). However, I know that this is something that has led to divisive conversations on social media over the past few days.
I wonder what Mary, the mother of Jesus, must have felt along with her leaping heart (Luke 1:46-56). I wonder if she knew that the child that she hosted in her pregnant body, her cause for celebration – would bring liberation for some and be a threat to others. For the first time from a very public pulpit, my calling as a minister in the DRC is affirmed by a woman from the pulpit – I am made in God’s image. I have been called, not only as an office-bearer – but as a vessel of the living God, bringing God’s message to God’s people.
I started reading at a young age and the Biblical text has been a source of inspiration for a long time. The stories that made the biggest impression on me were especially those that used vivid imagery.
In my mind’s eye I would picture God …
a burning bush
a column of fire, guiding God’s children by night
a cloud to cool them by day
a hen that protects her chicks!
a lamp and a light
a door and a gate
sometimes even a path
I am who I am
These are the images that filled my imagination. The irony was that not all these images were given equal value from pulpits. Not in the church of my childhood, nor the church that has welcomed me as a minister. I have had to find ways to be a minister despite public messages of who God is. Messages that leaned towards only particular bodies. The amazing thing is that God has never changed for me.
Amorphous God – Shapeshifter God – that sometimes fills me – more than I can sometimes find words for.
LEES OOK: Byeenkoms vir dolerende gemeentes
As I watch the video of the ordination of people who have been excluded from the ministry for many years – for many reasons, I hear the lifegiving message – finally – God is also a woman. Thank you, Melanie and Jana, for the gift that you have given me – a gift of inclusion – a gift that says that my journey with God, my stories, my body – matters.
With much appreciation (and, of course, creative rainbow love).
* Hierdie ope brief is gerig aan ds Melanie Thirion en dr Jana van den Munckhof op grond van dié leraars se onlangse deelname aan ’n legitimasiegeleentheid van NG Kerkstudente in Stellenbosch. Kerkbode publiseer dit in die oorspronklike taal waarin dit geskryf is. – Red.