March 23- Day 23 of Lent

OPENING PRAYER:

Lord God, during this Lenten season, teach us to come before you in humility, lamenting the signs that your kingdom has not yet come in its fullness. Help us to acknowledge our finitude and failings, and guide us into a journey of remembering rightly, repenting honestly, and responding faithfully. We long for the coming of your mosaic kingdom in Jesus Christ, our Lord, and invite your Holy Spirit to lead us now.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY: MARCH 23, 1638

Trial of Anne Hutchinson

Anne Hutchinson, a woman living in the midst of Puritan New England, was a religious woman and mother of thirteen children. She, along with other women living in those times, lived under the colonists’ Christian teachings and experienced the burdens of servitude, sexual abuse, and subservience. During that period, women experienced low literacy rates, had to give all of their income to their husbands, and could be arrested for having a child out of wedlock. They were not allowed to interpret the Bible or teach on religious matters.

In March of 1638, Hutchinson was put on trial for heresy and for defying the authority of the government. These charges came against her because she had defied the church fathers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony by insisting that she, along with other ordinary people, could interpret the Bible for themselves.  She was also known for teaching a theology based on a “covenant of grace” while accusing other ministers of preaching of “covenant of works.” She began holding meetings in her home with groups of sixty women or more, studying the Bible and criticizing the local ministers for their views.

At her trial, Hutchinson was interrogated for weeks. Despite being pregnant and ill, her accusers did not allow her to sit down until she was close to collapsing.  In the midst of her sickness, Hutchinson continually challenged her questioners with her expert knowledge of the Bible and remarkable eloquence. When she finally repented in writing, her accusers were not satisfied stating that, “Her repentance is not in her countenance,” and she was excommunicated from the church and banished from her colony.

Today, Hutchinson is remembered as a key figure in the development of religious freedom and the empowerment of women in ministry. She has been called the most famous- or infamous- English woman in colonial history.

SCRIPTURAL REFLECTION: PSALM 109:22-29

“I am poor and needy,
    and my heart is wounded within me.
23 I fade away like an evening shadow;
    I am shaken off like a locust.
24 My knees give way from fasting;
    my body is thin and gaunt.
25 I am an object of scorn to my accusers;
    when they see me, they shake their heads.

26 Help me, Lord my God;  save me according to your unfailing love.

27 Let them know that it is your hand,
    that you, Lord, have done it.
28 While they curse, may you bless;
    may those who attack me be put to shame,
    but may your servant rejoice.
29 May my accusers be clothed with disgrace
    and wrapped in shame as in a cloak.”

RESPONSE OF LAMENT AND CONFESSION: Please spend some time in personal response, crying out to God with prayers, poems, songs, or art that expresses your lament and confession. If you feel led, please share these responses with others, using #lentenlament #day23

You may close with the following:

Lord have mercy, 

Christ have mercy,

Lord have mercy.

CLOSING PRAYER: SEEING CHRIST IN OTHERS (Kate McIlhagga, 1998)

“Open our eyes to see, and our ears to hear
the cry of your creation.
Teach us its wonders.
Teach us to cherish and protect your world.
Teach us how to live in partnership with all things,
that we may learn how to live
as one body in Christ-
dependent on each other’s gifts
Sharing in each other’s hopes.”

Amen.

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