Epiphany

Ordained Differences

The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing.
—Zephaniah 3:17 KJV

When I spoke at a pastors’ conference a couple of years ago, I wheeled out onto the platform and got the jolt of my life. Somehow it escaped me that I would be among so many men—eighteen hundred, to be exact. The song leader had them stand up, and when they broke into a rousing chorus, a jet blast of sound hit me head-on. I tried to sing along but my voice sounded so wispy and thin. I was surrounded by a sound so pure and powerful that it seemed to resonate in my bones and shake my wheelchair. It was a thunderous waterfall of perfect bass and baritone, so passionate that it made my heart break.

I enjoyed something else: I felt very female. Looking into the faces of the happy men, I relished in them being so…male. Virile and vigorous, direct and to the point, punctuating each note with importance. I delighted in the God-blessed differences between those men and me, a woman.

That evening reminded me that our differences are ordained so men and women can be a better blessing to each other. In the same way melody and harmony complement each other, the role of men and women in ministry is complementary. Thank God for men. I’m glad the Son of Man was so male. A man of flesh-and-blood reality. Who knows? Maybe he sang baritone.

It would be hard to trust God if he were only Prime Mover or First Cause, with no respect to gender. It would be impossible to love a Lord who was only a vague, theological concept. Our verse today tells us that God sings! Could a genderless Source of All chip in with a tenor harmony? I doubt it. Sing to God your favorite Scripture chorus and ask him to hum along!

Thank you, Lord, for the differences between men and women, harmony and melody. And thank you that you sing!

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