When women get to work

Women have an important place in the church! God can still act today! He can use us, with our strengths and our weaknesses, to make things change in this world. Do you believe it? In light of the parable of leaven, Mary Cotes shows what happens when women set to work for the Kingdom of heaven... First there are the stories of all these women in the Gospel of Matthew who were changed by the action of God, and who often caused the world around them to change. Their journey is not always the subject of a long development, their reputation at the time was perhaps not exemplary, but it is through them that God acted. In the history of Christianity there are also all those women who, through their strengths and weaknesses, have faced the injustices of society to advance the Kingdom of God. Some are quite well known, like Amy Carmichael, others are less known like Sojourner Truth, Alice Domon, Sophie Scholl and others. But all of them invite us to get to work in our turn and echo the author of this book:

"I pray that in God's hands this book will offer my readers a picture of the leaven at work in all the dough of the world and that it will serve to exhort and encourage other sisters and brothers to persevere on the paths of the Kingdom. Our time needs to hear the good news of the Gospel and to rediscover the hope that the God of love gives us."

Mary Cotes A Baptist pastor for many years after studying French and theology, Mary Cotes exercised pastoral ministry in many contexts including the chaplaincy of a social center and that of a psychiatric hospital. She taught in a theology faculty and appeared as a speaker on British national radio. She then worked as a regional manager in the ecumenical environment. Having retired, she devotes her time to writing, and to carrying out an itinerant teaching ministry. A qualified musician, she also gives piano lessons. With her husband, she lives in Milton Keynes in England.

Contents :

  • Foreword: The Kingdom of God announced
  • Introduction: The Kingdom in the Image of Leaven
  1. The Limitless Kingdom The Scope of God's Kingdom
  2. The Kingdom to discover Hidden in history: the women of the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1.1-17)
  3. The Kingdom in the service of others Peter's mother-in-law (Matthew 8.14-15)
  4. The Kingdom of Fearless Love The Bleeding Woman (Matthew 9:20-22)
  5. The faithful and persevering Kingdom The perseverance of the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15.21-28)
  6. The Mighty Kingdom The woman who anointed Jesus' head (Matthew 26:6-13)
  7. The Kingdom that transforms The mother of James and John (Matthew 20.20-28-56)
  8. The Promised Kingdom The two women before the empty tomb (Matthew 27.59-61-10)
  • Conclusion: Leaven in our lives
  • For further
Introduction. The Kingdom in the image of leaven Buried in the depths of the thirteenth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, after the well-known parable of the sower and that of the good grain and the tares, we find several small parables, so short as if If you don't pay attention, you can easily miss it. My favorite, the one that speaks to me and touches me the most, is that of sourdough. “The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman takes and mixes in three measures of flour, so that the whole mass rises” (Matthew 13:33). In Jesus' time, the work women did was largely invisible and largely underappreciated. What was considered real work was managing business, making tools, leading or building. This type of activity took place in the public sphere, where women of the time had no place. In the thought of the ancient world, women belonged to the strictly private sphere, and the image of the perfect woman was the one who remained within the home. At home, women had a lot to do. According to the Mishnah, a collection of Jewish oral laws written at the beginning of the 3rd century, the wife was required to perform seven tasks for her husband: doing the laundry, preparing meals, feeding the children, making the beds, spinning the wool, grinding the grain into flour and of course, preparing the bread. Women therefore had work, but their occupation was neither recognized nor really valued. While men were often defined by what they did or by their profession – we know, for example, that Joseph was a carpenter; Matthew, tax collector; Simon, fisherman – most of the time, women were not defined by their activities, but by their family ties or by where they came from. Thus, the biblical text speaks to us of Mary, mother of James and Joseph, and of Mary, originally from Magdala. Therefore, this parable is already distinguished by the fact that Jesus looks at the everyday life of completely ordinary women and refers to it. And he sees, in a woman's mastery in preparing bread, a powerful image of the Kingdom of God.