October is the month in which the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML) is celebrated in many congregations across our church body. St. Matthew’s Heartners group is our LWML chapter. There will be a couple special things happening this October with our Heartners group. On Sunday, October 10, the children attending will help us gather a special “mite” offering in the service. This is a remembrance of the woman in Mark 12:41-44 who gave an offering of just two mites, which was all she had. Jesus praised her for her generous offering.
On the 10th, worshippers are encouraged to bring their coins for a mite offering. The funds collected through this offering will support LWML mission projects around the world. (A complete list of current mission grants is available at lwml.org.)
Also returning in the month of October will be the Fall Harvest Soup Supper on Friday the 15th. This is both a great opportunity for fellowship and an important fundraiser for the Heartners’ efforts.
I hope you’ll join me in giving thanks for our Heartners group, the broader service of the LWML, and the great blessing that faithful women of God are to our families, churches, and communities!
Over the past several months, I’ve had the privilege of discussing women in the Bible with our Thursday Bible study attendees. One of the things we’ve learned from this experience is just how much women are mentioned in the Bible and feature prominently in our Lord’s story. The Old Testament tells us about women like Sarah, Ruth, and Esther and how the Lord worked through them at critical moments in faith history. The New Testament begins with two women who are blessed to miraculously become mothers: Elizabeth and Mary. The New Testament culminates in the Good News of Easter morning: “He is not here, for He has risen!” (Matthew 28:6) The women following Jesus, who had come to give Him a proper burial, were the first to see the empty tomb, hear this Good News, and meet the risen Jesus!
This is part of a larger Scriptural emphasis on the dignity of women. From the very beginning, God made both men and women in His own image (Genesis 1:27). We hear the service of women being praised, such as the wife and mother described in Proverbs 31. We see Jesus befriending, teaching, and comforting women, including Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42; John 11).
At the same time, we also see Scripture affirming the distinction between men and women. From the beginning, God created Adam for loving headship and Eve for loving help and support. We see this distinction upheld in the New Testament as the Apostles dealt with questions of men’s and women’s roles in church and ministry. Qualified pastoral candidates should be godly men, “the husband of one wife” (Titus 1:5-6). The roles of men and women in the church are also distinguished in passages such as 1 Timothy 2:11-12, which reserves the public, authoritative teaching role in the church (the pastoral office) for men.
In short, God has gifted men and women with different, though complementary, opportunities and responsibilities to serve Him and one another. We give thanks for God’s unique design of both men and women, and we especially thank and praise Him for wonderfully making all of us in His image and making us new in Christ. As men and women in Christ, may we all serve the Lord with gladness, according to His will and to the glory of His saving name.
Peace in Christ,
Pastor Kory Janneke