It has been only once that I had attended the prayer meeting in the church other than in our hometown. It was in Sendai. There the pastor first introduced some passages in Paul’s letters, for example in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35.
the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
“How would women of today would reading this?” He said. “As you see, even Paul put women below men. It was such a society at that time. Therefore, today’s words of Jesus are so precious.”
It was written in Mark 12:41-44. Jesus saw a poor widow putting small coins in the offering box of the temple, and appreciated her so much.
43 And he called his disciples to him and said to them, “Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. 44 For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on.”
His speech gave me a lot of worthy hints. In the Bible there are some descriptions that today we could not directly agree. But we should not neglect them or take them as inconvenient for ouf belief. We should at first admit there are not only sweet things written in the Bible, and then quest the total message contained in the Scriptures. I think it was very nice of the pastor, that he did not hide that Paul demanded women to be silent and submitting, although there were many women listening.
So todays picture. I had worried first to draw the widow throwing her coins in the offering box, for I didn’t know how the box or the temple was like. I should not draw a wrong picture for the holy things or places.
But the Lord gave me a hint: “Imagine, WHOM did the widow give her properties?”
Later, I got an idea about Paul’s aspect to women in the church: At the time of him, it was very tough and dangerous to work as Christians. So Paul might not have wanted women to be so active that they would be persecuted. Maybe he knew about the harsh situation very well, because he himself had once been the most radical persecutor.