At a time when the big narratives of the Old Testament are finding their way back into the cinema (albeit through a somewhat creative reworking of the text), and the value of women to the church in terms of leadership is being reinforced, author Fiona Stratta feels the time is right for Christians to reconsider the value of the Old Testament witness for modern-day faith, with a particular focus on the women!
‘Do the lives of women who lived so long ago have much to say to us today? My experience leads me to give a resounding “yes” to that question. Although the centuries have passed, human nature and human needs remain unaltered, as does our desire for meaningful relationships with God and the people around us. God’s amazing faithfulness and grace are new every morning, as readily available to us now as they were to these biblical women.’
For her new book, Walking with Old Testament Women, Fiona researched the lives of Sarah, Rebekah, Rachel, Leah, Tamar, Miriam, Rahab, Naomi, Ruth, Hannah, Bathsheba and Esther, discovering details that overfamiliarity with the stories had blurred. She found that the way in which God interacted with these ancient women has the potential to open up a fresh and powerful way of bringing God’s word into 21st-century lives.
‘By engaging with their emotions, we open up ourselves—minds, emotions and spirits—to God’s touch. We discover that these Old Testament narratives are, perhaps surprisingly, non-judgemental: the accounts unfold with no comments from the writers, in spite of the sometimes shocking circumstances. We are left to work out what went wrong and why, and to marvel at God’s grace constantly shaping a future for his people, in spite of the flawed humans through whom his promises were fulfilled. We are given wisdom and hope.’
Following the Ignatian-influenced ‘imaginative reflection’ structure of her first very successful book, Walking with Gospel Women, Fiona presents her work in a series of short monologues, with each character telling her own story. Each monologue is followed by a series of questions, providing the opportunity for groups or individuals to examine the issues the women faced and to explore the relevance of those issues today.
Read a sample chapter from Walking with Old Testament Women.
This article was originally published by BRF Online
September 4th, 2015 - Posted & Written by The Editor