When I got there, I was met by a very nice Messianic Jewish lady with a New York City accent. After finding out who I am and why I was there, she told me the strategy of the women’s program. “We’re just friends,” she told me definitively. “That’s why we come.”
The time was much more like a women’s meeting at a church than I expected. We spent the first half hour mingling, and it was fun to see the women finding good friends who they hadn’t seen since the last event and catching up. The conversation was “How is your new grand-daughter,” and “Have you lost weight?” instead of “What do you think about the current political situation.” By the time the twenty-five of us sat down around a big horseshoe table I was writing the following in my journal:
Women, because of such common life journeys/concerns may have more natural bridges to reconciliation.
The rest of the meeting worked to confirm that idea.
One woman welcomed the group. “Please give a brief update on how you are and how we can pray for you.” Whew, it was cool. Women of many generations opened up about where they are now. Joyous over a new grandchild, weeping over breaking relationships with children or husbands, testimony of God’s grace during times of difficulty — pain, sickness, lost life, new life, joy… seasons of life for every women.
Then we got into smaller groups and went before the Lord and prayed for each other. Three languages lifting to heaven the lives and concerns of our sisters.
After our time of prayer, we gathered again in one group for teaching. Louise taught on the Good Samaritan, expounding on cultural issues at play in the story. The main point that stood out to me was that in Jesus’ teaching the answer to the question “who is my neighbor,” was essentially another question: “Whose neighbor are you?” It is what we do for them that makes us a neighbor.
We finished with a nice lunch. I felt embraced by the group — I guess they are accustomed to meeting new women and accepting outsiders. I wrote in my notes:
Praise You, Lord, for Your faithfulness through all life situations. Thank You for other women to walk through life with. Thank You for Your work in all nations, and for bringing us together in purpose and unity because of Jesus! Amen…