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The mobile Word

6.8. 2017 Written By: Hyacinth Stevens 60 Times read

This article was originally published in the June issue of The Mennonite magazine.

The mobile Word—Jesus himself—embodied movement. The Word became flesh. Jesus did mobile ministry that allowed him to be accessible to all people. He was available in unconventional ways to those who might not be able to come into the Synagogue, people like the marketplace dweller. Jesus’ ministry could be seen, touched and reached at the seashore, on a mountaintop, by a well, in a boat or on a dusty road.

Jesus was mobile.

In his mobility he touched the ordinary and routine spaces with sacred, holy, loving and insightful moments.

Travel in the city can be overwhelming, with intense traffic, crowded buses and subways at rush hour. There is often limited or no parking. For many, the thought of coming out during the week after a long workday is exhausting, not refreshing.

As a pastor of King of Glory Tabernacle in the Bronx, N.Y., where the majority of attendees are women, women who have zestful lives that are packed with routines, how do we create more space or expand the continuum of time to crunch in more? Where is the space for fellowship around the Word? Where is the space in congregational life to share and care for each other as women? There are so many great resources available, but who has time to use them?

These questions and concerns brought me into pondering and praying around Jesus’ mobile ministry. Jesus, you meet people where they are–how do I do that with the women of our congregation?

Our gatherings during the week had increasingly low numbers. I started to ask the women about their interest in Bible study on Saturdays or weekdays. Many responded that yes, they were interested, with a quick pause. After the pause would come this face of yielded sadness as the reality sunk in.” But how and where could something else fit into my schedule?”

As a board member for Mennonite Women USA, I wanted the women in my context to have access to the Bible study guide and other resources MW USA is contributing to the broader church.

So, the solution came: Make it mobile.

Our Conference Line Bible Study is going on its fourth year. We use a free conference line number and meet every other Tuesday evening from 8-8:45. Each year we journey through the Mennonite Women Bible study resource guide for the year.

This mobile Bible study line has moved from just women from our church to include co-workers, relatives and friends. We even have some women who join our group from different parts of the country. I email reflection questions, images and biblical texts. We also use the conference line for women’s prayer every Thursday evening, which also welcomes women who might not normally attend a traditional prayer meeting but love the prayer line. For many of the women, it is their well.

The line is sacred space and filled with women of all ages. From young adult women to our wise senior sisters, the space is enriched by this intergenerational time of sharing and fellowship.

A past reflection casts a modern image. We are women hidden in cameos of biblical role models.

The Bible gives us various glimpses of women in their homes and communities. The Old Testament gives us images and character traits of many women. The wise woman builds her home and space with both hands, the virtuous woman is blessed and regarded in the marketplace. The worshipful woman is like Miriam at the cusp of the Red Sea. Deborah is a fair judge and leader of the people.

 

 

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