Today is Rosh Hashanah – Jewish New Year. It is said in the Jewish community that when a person dies on this Holy Day, they are considered to be a person of great righteousness Ruth Bader Ginsburg died today. A brave champion of equal rights, RGB paved the way for women everywhere, including me. I am grateful that my daughter and those that follow will have a better future because this petite giant spoke truth, loved justice and lived humbly.
I am struck by her passing the ways others are over a movie star or an athlete. I didn’t even know her, but because of her pioneering voice and her persistence, I enjoy a more equitable existence. Because RBG stood strong and forged the path she did all the way to the Supreme Court, she made a way for the next generation to speak up for marginalized people and advocate for those without a voice. She empowered women, reminding men of our dignity and worth, just as Christ Jesus offers each human without regard to gender, ethnicity, age, race, et al. She was resilient, smart, funny, kind.
I also reflect on other strong female heroes. There is another Ruth. She was a poor widow from Moab who was determined to walk into a new life and build a relationship with God. She kept moving forward, caring for her new family, gleaning in the fields and risking it all by approaching Boaz. She was brave and godly and became King David’s great grandmother.
There was Esther. She started off as an orphan immigrant who created a strategy to save an entire nation at the risk of her own life. She used every resource to thrive in a world gone sideways.
The creativity, the courage and the competence of Miriam, as a child, who approached the princess and delivered the future deliverer of God’s people, securing God’s promise and affirming the role of women in leadership. I learn persistence and intelligence from this defender of the faith.
Even Eve, who often gets a bad rap, led the way through grief, shame and estrangement without support of a mother, sister, girlfriend. She never knew the treasure of God’s Word, or the wisdom and joy of the Holy Spirit. She didn’t know the power of salvation, grace and forgiveness; yet she had strength and hope enough to carry on and pass onto many who came after her.
These are just a few of my heroes who spent their lives making life better for others. They used their gifts, talents and energy for something bigger than themselves. Like RGB they were faithful, courageous and strong and chose to participate without knowing what was ahead. We all face fear and loneliness, grief and confusion, and yet we can look to those around us and those who have gone ahead of us to learn how to live better, stronger and meaningful lives in spite of our situation or circumstances.
I pray that my kids will see me as a feminist too. I want to be a person who does not see liabilities in my gender, age, race, nationality, etc. Rather, I want to be remembered as one who stood up to injustice, one who used her gifts and life for something (and someone) bigger than herself, one who was notoriously grateful to be the Lord’s image bearer and ambassador, and one who loved others fiercely and with kindness.
Thank you Ruth. You are Notorious!