And finally…

Gloria, by Micah Hayns (from the post on Miriam)

Alleluia, Christ is Risen!

Jesus said to [Mary Magdalene], “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew,“Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher)...’Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”'
John 20: 15-16,18

It seems fitting to end this Lent series on Easter day remembering Mary Magdalene, the very first disciple to see the risen Jesus, and the very first to proclaim the resurrection.

As this is my final post I want to thank you for joining with me this Lent, and for all your encouragement along the way. The journey began back in February with Hagar who was pushed out into the wilderness. And goodness, what a journey this has been! None of us knew back then that the whole world would also be propelled into a strange kind of wilderness. It has felt for me that these women of old have been alongside us through these strange times, and they have taught us important truths along the way.

They have reminded us of the gifts and challenges of family life (Rachel and Leah, Rebekah), of the importance of friendships (Naomi and Ruth), of not being afraid to stand up for what is right (Shiprah and Puah, the daughters of Zelophehad), of peace making (Abigail, Esther), and of the value of a deep faith (Naaman’s servant, The widow with the oil). There have been some who were hard to like (Athaliah, Jael), and some whose stories were so painful they were hard to face (Rahab, Dinah).

And Miss Lent 2020 goes to…*

I wonder if you would like to share in the comments section which of the women you most enjoyed, either because you related to them, or because they interested or surprised you in some way. I’m sure others would enjoy reading your responses; I know I would. It’s hard for me to pick an all-round favourite as I’ve loved them all, but I think I would go with Miriam. The image of her leading the women in dancing in the wilderness really spoke to me this lent.

I would like to thank the six ‘guest bloggers’ (Megan, Milly, Emma, Alannah, Matilda and Philippa) for their thoughtful responses and for the time they put into doing this. I’d also like to thank Micah for being willing to create so many of the beautiful images, and for putting up with my demands (and one point he even declared ‘Mum, I’m not a machine!’). And whilst I’m doing an Oscars-style list I’d better even thank my husband John for his proof-reading and one-liners. He’s very much enjoyed that he gained a small fan base!!

I’m going to take a break for a while but my plan is to do something similar for Lent next year, perhaps with women from the New Testament and the early Church.

Prayer

When Hagar was in the wilderness she was met by an angel who told her that she was seen and heard by God. Centuries later Mary Magdalene was seen by the risen Jesus in the garden. I pray this Easter that you too would know what it is to be seen and heard by God, and that you too would experience the light, love and life of the risen Christ.

O Lord God, our Father. You are the light that can never be put out; and now you give us a light that shall drive away all darkness. You are love without coldness, and you have given us such warmth in our hearts that we can love all when we meet. You are the life that defies death and you have opened for us the way that leads to eternal life. None of us is a great Christian; we are all humble and ordinary. But your grace is enough of us. Arouse in us that small degree of joy and thankfulness of which we are capable, to the timid faith which we can muster, to the cautious obedience which we cannot refuse, and thus to the wholeness of life which you have prepared for all of us through the death and resurrection of your Son. Do not allow any of us to remain apathetic or indifferent to the wondrous glory of Easter, but let the light of our risen Lord reach every corner of our dull hearts. Amen
(Karl Barth, 1886-1968)

*This was of course from John!

Author: clarehayns

College Chaplain and Welfare Coordinator of Christ Church, Oxford | Mum of three boys | wife of a juggler and magician | Council of Reference of ZANE - http://www.zane-zimbabweanationalemergency.com | enjoys board games, dog walking, films, eating out.

44 thoughts on “And finally…”

  1. Thank you for a wonderful series which was full of surprises, and really helped my journey through Lent this year. David Meara

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  2. I’m not sure who is my ‘Miss Lent'(!) but just wanted to say thank you for such a wonderful series. I started out with a few lent reflections and yours is the one I have looked forward to reading each day. It’s been interesting, challenging, encouraging and fun – so thank you. Thanks for all the beautiful artwork as well, Micah is incredibly talented.

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  3. Thank you for this really interesting journey through Lent. I am a PhD student in Feminist Practical Theology here in Leuven, Belgium. I am recording the lives of an Order of missionary Sisters who have served all over the world and are now retired. Your series has brought home to me the rich tradition of biblical women to which they belong – there is some of many of the women you have mentioned in all of the Sisters. How wonderful to celebrate that the line continues…thank you again and blessed Easter!
    Jane

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  4. Thank you so much for these Clare. I missed a few, so look forward to re-reading and choosing my favourite. In the meantime you get my vote for Mrs Lent.
    Happy Easter xxxx

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  5. The journey led me to memories of things from long ago. Something that struck me as we read Jonah’s prayer from the belly of the whale in Holy Week the 3 Days of darkness and that In Esther the 3 days. A few years ago I looked at the difference between the Greek and Hebrew texts of Esther, and we had a morning service when we read the whole of Esther after we had finished the study. The 3 day fast I don’t remember. It is the first time in 25 years we have been in the UK for Holy Week and Easter. Interesting have followed the parish services, and linked into messages etc in our home in France. Remembering all these women has been an encouragement

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  6. eggcellent….eggstrawdinary…..written with such eggzuberance……..I am about to bite the ears off an enormous easter bunny, as my 6 grandchildren do the same…and thank you so much for all your hard work. I am sure I am not the only one to suggest it goes into a book. have a great rest with your family……..yours eggstatically…Ruth

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  7. Thank you So much for a wonderful series. It has been interesting finding out more about these women.
    I’ve actually been looking forward to reading each day.
    I can’t think of a favourite.
    A Wonderful read
    Ron Luton-Brown

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  8. Dear Clare,
    thank you so much for your efforts over Lent which have been insightful and supportive; a mixture of thoughtful comments on known figures and introductions to new figures – I need to go back to my Bible and see who else I’ve overlooked. Easter blessings, Ann Milton (Brussels)

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  9. Thank you Clare for leading me / us through Lent and reflecting with us during these strange times. It has encouraged me and deepened my understanding of women during OT times.

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  10. Much appreciated series, thank you Clare,
    always like the story of Ruth for her loyalty.
    Also like Susanna, although she is not in every version of the OT.

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  11. For the sake of my fans(!), I feel duty bound to let you know the one-liners that didn’t make the cut for the final post:

    My Lord, Ladies and Lent’s done then

    Considering they weren’t all called Lily…

    So, Lent went

    Hurrah, I managed to have Lent without falling over!

    They were Lent. But now they are yours to keep.

    Clare’s husband 🙂

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  12. I have looked with great eagerness to each day to learn about people, some of whom I can’t say I knew anything about. I have loved it and am enormously grateful for all of them. Even the more uncomfortable ones. Accepting the not so nice side of ourselves helps us to accept the not so nice in others. Happy Easter Frances

    >

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  13. Thank you for all you have done during our time together. I have thoroughly loved learning about all the different women of the Old Testament. I can honestly say, I was never aware there were this many. I appreciated the time and effort you have put into your writings and enhancing my Lenten Journey. I look forward to next year should you decide to do the New Testament women.
    Thanks again.
    Tricia (Deegan) Chandler

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    1. Thanks Tricia, I didn’t think there would be enough women when I began and then ended up having to choose between them! Thanks for this encouragement.

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  14. Thank you so much for an excellent lent series,for all your hours researching, praying and writing. Also for your husband’s sense of humour. The whole series was very thought provoking. I have enjoyed each of the daily readings, so can’t pick out a favourite. Have you thought of putting these daily reflections into a book form? I find it easier to read from paper, than the screen. May the Lord bless you and keep you and give you a time of refreshment now having given out so much over the lent period.

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    1. Dear Christine, many thanks for your encouragement and I am delighted you have enjoyed it. I would love to put it into book form and my next task is to look into that as it’s a new thing for me! Happy Easter

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    2. Thanks for this and I’m delighted you enjoyed it.. and John’s sense of humour (he’s commented with the one liners that didn’t make it on this thread!). I would love to put them into a book- that’s my next task! Happy Easter. Clare

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  15. Dear Clare, Many thanks for all the trouble you took with your blog. It was an excellent way to start each day of Lent. I hope you have had a happy Easter despite the circumstances. With love, Joy

    Sent from my iPad

    >

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  16. Dear Clare,
    Thank you so much for your daily reflections – they have been a wonderful way to start each day and to realise the total relevance of the Old Testament to our lives today.
    My favourite was Ruth – your reflection led me to read her book. Friendship is so valuable, especially in these times, and the message comes over loud and clear to love on another.

    Thank you so much – I hope you can now enjoy the Easter time .

    Best wishes,
    Pat

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    1. I’m very pleased you enjoyed them and I agree – it’s amazing how current they seem in many ways. I love Ruth too and yes, I’ve appreciated good friends recently and have been enjoying reconnecting with many old buddies. Happy Easter.

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  17. Clare, this has been such a good companion for my Lent travelling this year. Hard to choose a ‘favourite’. I have Miriam on my white stole so she has always been a companion for me. I am drawn this year to Hagar – an outsider, who is seen and heard. I often feel like an outsider, and this time is making outsiders of many people. Thank you and go well.

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  18. I rushed to put on my computer every day to see which woman was to be featured. A lovely narrative with beautiful illustrations, which helped to lighten up Easter this year. Thank you and Micah so much, and Clare, you have also given me help which is so appreciated. My “Miss Lent” goes to Ruth who showed that she would not be beaten by hardship. She has been my model in past years.

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  19. Let me join with the others on congratulating you and your family on an outstanding Lent series. The interesting challenge for you as you turn it into a book will be to choose between to options. Either to remove the references to the Covid context, so the book is applicable to any period, or (I hope) to strengthen those references, so the book becomes something of a memoir to a unique Lent.
    I was waiting for Huldah, as she has always been a bit of a favourite for me, and you did not disappoint. If Micah doesn’t feel like turning on his machine again, might I suggest switching the Deborah and Huldah pictures? Micah’s powerful portrait of Deborah is just how I imagine Huldah – very strong, but with a softness arising from long experience.
    Thank you again so much
    Edward Prebble

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    1. Thank you so much for this encouragement, and for your insightful comments. Keeping the Covid references in is an interesting idea… I had assumed I’d do the former but will reflect again. I agree, the Deborah image is one of my favourites. He says he’ll do another one for Huldah! Happy Easter. Clare

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  20. Thanks Clare for this whole series – I got a bit behind so I’ve only just finished it! And already I want to go back and revisit some of them…

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  21. Thanks for all your reflections over Lent. Are you going to have them made into a book? I think you should – the art work by Micah is extraordinary – such a gift. Well done to both of you and thank you again for helping me to understand so much more.

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