There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My time has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” – Excerpt of John 2:1-5 (NRSV)
Anytime a man begins a sentence with “Woman!” we can assume two things: First, the rest of the sentence is going to be a bit testy. Dude is triggered. Second, his safety is at risk.
We would be hard pressed to find a woman who doesn’t respond by making a very specific, somewhat hostile, face that asks, “What did your mouth just say to me?”
It worked. Mary didn’t say another word to Jesus. She simply directed the catering staff to follow his lead. She knew what he was about to do. She knew it was time for Jesus to step up when he wanted to hang back and be just another face in the crowd.
Mary is reminiscent of so many women in “the shadows” of male leaders, pushing them to rise up and to use their power and privilege for good. Women like Eleanor Roosevelt, Coretta Scott King, Rachel Robinson, and Dolores Huerta.
You also have the power to provoke others to claim their gifts. Making a face is optional. Conversely, you might be provoked for the same reason. Whenever someone rises up, it’s a mini-Easter moment. May it happen for you today.
Holy One, when you prompt me to rise up, forgive me if I answer “Woman, please!” Instead, may I accept that my time has come.
Matt Laney is the Senior Pastor of Virginia Highland Church UCC in Atlanta, GA and the author of Pride Wars, a fantasy series published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers. The first two books, The Spinner Prince and The Four Guardians are available now.