Thought For The Week 23 September 2018
A few years ago some friends and I had the opportunity to tour the parliament buildings in Wellington. It was very interesting: we saw the old upper house, the parliament library, the earthquake-proof foundations, and we visited the public gallery with parliament in session.
But the most interesting part of the tour wasn’t on the tour at all. In the foyer as we waited, there was a large display case showing memorabilia from the women’s suffrage campaign. Amongst the various items on display was a directory of all 32,000+ women who signed the petition to parliament. In today’s terms perhaps 32,000 people doesn’t seem a lot, but it remains, I believe, the largest petition ever presented to parliament. And those 32,000 signatures represent around 1 in 5 women who lived in New Zealand at the time. It was a hugely impressive undertaking. As I leafed through the directory, I found many relatives’ names that I recognised from family histories and from visiting family plots. To see my own great-grandmothers’ names among all those others was really, incredibly moving.
Scripture reminds us there is neither male nor female, neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, for all are one in Christ Jesus our Lord. So as we celebrate 125 years of women’s suffrage in our nation, may we be challenged personally to imagine how we might do our own little bit to bring Christ’s vision of a renewed humanity to fruition. How can we, in our own lives, uphold our brothers and sisters in Christ, and all of God’s children in dignity, in respect, and in love?