I heard a sermon recently in which the stories told about women cast them as both weak victims and powerful sex objects - that old and tired dichotomy. Alas, if only the preacher had read this week's texts.
Jezebel? Although she is the "villian" of the piece, it's not because of overweening sexuality, it's for her smarts, chutzpah and initiative. The woman with the alabaster jar? She combines emotional intelligence (or at least emotional expression) with worshipful devotion, and an ethic of service and hospitality which puts the males around her shame.
Centuries of Christianity have diminished the voices and stories of women - gifts which are only now being reclaimed. And yet, through all those years of shame and anti-sensuality and oppression, these two stories about these two amazing women - so different from one another, and yet so singularly well-defined - have survived. It's incredible, if you really think about it.
These stories take me toward a reclamation of the feminine voice in our tradition. So I think that's where I would head, were I preaching this week. What about you? What direction do these stories pull you? Or are you heading in another direction altogether? Let us know in the comments if you play.