Sunday, 8 November 2015

On suffrage and sacrifice

Last week I had the pleasure of seeing Suffragette.
Watch it. No, really. I don't care if you don't approve of their militant actions. Nor if you think that feminism has 'gone too far'. Everyone should see it.

As the lights came up and I hastily sorted my smudged eyes, I realised that my limited knowledge of suffragettes had come mainly from Mrs Banks in Mary Poppins. Sure, I had heard about force-feeding and some woman stepping in front of the king's horse... but it had remained an interesting, fantastical piece of general knowledge (like most other history lessons, really).

Instead of a rambunctious upper-class lady partial to breaking into song, I was confronted with the reality of suffrage. Malnourished, shamed and homeless women, giving everything - jobs, husbands, children - for this cause they believed in. It was inspiring to see this relatively recent show of sacrifice. These women believed they were fighting for something greater than their own lives, greater than commitment to husbands or children. And this demonstration of giving up everything felt rather alien to me.

Which is ironic, I guess, given that I've been a Christian for however many years and know Jesus' teaching about "take up your cross and follow me". It's just that as a teenager, that meant putting up with being mocked at school for my faith; and as an adult, accepting that the 'pool' of prospective romantic partners becomes pretty small if you narrow the search to only Christians. Are these things sacrifice? I'm not sure. They haven't stopped me from carving out the idea of a pleasant time on earth, enjoying fullness of life through Jesus and (hopefully) having a vaguely merry time of it.

[NB. Good news: faith in Jesus doesn't mean your life will be awful - that's *not* what I'm trying to say.]

But the idea that I have something so much greater even than women's rights or social justice, to give up my life for - I guess it just hasn't really had to occur to me living in the millennial Western world.

It's never occurred to me that I might actually have to give everything for the sake of the gospel. In theory, I've known and accepted it: but the chance of having to give up home, familial relationships or life for the gospel has always (thankfully) been pretty low.

What am I saying? Not that we should give up our current lives and go live in caves, or off of wild locusts and honey. But just that when you remember the call of Christian sacrifice - being prepared to give our lives, even - and the hope set before us in Jesus, it changes your perspective on Right Now.

If the core of who I am is striving for God's glory, his kingdom, seeing his face - then the tiny sacrifices I make now will be fairly insignificant. The idea of not getting married seems rather inconsequential when I'm faced with what any sacrifice would be for: the reality of Jesus; the truth of salvation; the hope of everything we've been promised.

1 comment:

  1. You mention the thought of not getting married in this post. I know it's been a 'thing' since we were younger, and it just occurred to me that it's a similar situation to things that bugged me for years but weren't resolved because of the attitude I had to them. Obviously that doesn't apply to everything (by any means!), and we must be careful not to begin a cycle of blame either (I know this too well) but I know that with some things in life, it's only once I've let them go that they are fulfilled/resolved. Obviously it's a tough one (I remember feeling like you do and hating it even at 15 - as though we all need to be paired up by that age?!) but I wanted to mention it in case it applied to you. Freedom in Christ, and all that!

    In a similar vein, I know of many times where people (including myself) have had this 'one thing' which we felt we couldn't face, e.g. "I can put up with anything, but please Lord, not that," and ultimately that has been the thing we've HAD to face. As though we are made to face our fears; to face the very things that come between us and God? The most fearful example of that is a woman who basically prayed that nothing could ever shift her faith, except the loss of her daughter, which she couldn't believe God would allow. It happened that she did end up losing her daughter.. and ultimately gained far greater faith and courage through facing that. So yeah, just some things to ponder.

    Muchos love xxx