I may have screamed. I was definitely shouting. But when you are a preacher and you’re wearing a clergy collar leading a crowd in chanting, perhaps what I was really doing was preaching. Can a woman preach without a pulpit?
My pulpit was a stage centered on the ground floor of the Indiana State House atrium. Looking up around me I saw several stories of people leaning into the atrium, shouting for our lives. Indiana was on the cusp of voting to restrict reproductive rights, one of the first states to do so on the heels of repealing Roe vs. Wade.
I accepted an invitation as a faith leader to speak briefly in support of reproductive rights. Before I knew it, all the other faith leaders couldn’t make it and so it was just me on the stage. And I screamed. Or maybe I just passionately led the crowds in chanting with energy from deep within my loins.
I surprised myself. Where did this voice come from? Who was this woman? Where was this authority and power born from? I got caught up in the rapture of the moment and preached like my life depended on it.
I confessed to the harm done to women and girls in the name of God. I proclaimed God’s love for people who have abortions. I called for protection of bodily autonomy.
As I walked off the stage, making room for the regional president of Planned Parenthood, my face felt hot. I gave a reporter my name. I took a drink of water.
Walking out of the State House I saw hundreds of people encircling the building, holding signs, holding hands, holding hope. We showed up that day because we cared. We showed up because we have a right to defend our human rights.
I realized that everything I had done as a local church pastor in Indianapolis led up to this moment: being entrusted to speak publicly on behalf of people of faith to the divine right to respect, dignity, and equality. I answered God’s call to break free from the confines of the church pulpit and speak a word of truth and power to the people. Yet, I was unable to return to my pulpit the following Sunday.
Within 48 hours of giving my speech at the Indiana State House in defense of reproductive freedom, I was on my back in the emergency room. It turns out my body was intimately connected to the words of my heart, mind, and spirit. Instead of in the pulpit, the following Sunday I was in bed recovering from a yet to be diagnosed reproductive health condition.
It’s been several months since that fateful July day at the State House. A lot has changed for me personally and I want to share more with you as I am ready. But for now, that’s enough. Know that all is well and all manner of things shall be well.
For now, I am pondering all of these things in my heart. Blessed is she who gives herself to God, in body, mind, and spirit. And blessed is the fruit of her womb.
3 thoughts on “Blessed is She”
Bless you, Rev. Sarah! Prayers rising for your health, your spirit and your journey.
Thanks Sara, I too am pondering many things in my heart in a way appropriate for being 80. I’m so out of stamina trying to stay sane in an over 55 community that has turned into a minimum security prison. It’s a god
Ess place and thee adult children and all family have abandoned me. Speaking up for my rights has not worked. I have witnessed abuse too long.
Fear of course does not help. It is so hard to believe.
Thank you for your sharing.
I am overwhelmed….to be alone. to stand and speak, to give of yourself, to be so vulnerable…and then to have this overpower your body to require hospitalization and care…thank you and may God hold you and your family, and know that our love is with you and fills you as you continue to answer God’s call… peace and love, Pat Larracey