As a school governor I was attending an after school meeting. The after-school club was on and they were walking towards me with a leader I had not met before. She obviously didn’t know me and as we got close she said to the children, “move over and let the lady through.” Immediately one of the children replied “That’s no lady, that’s Sister Denise”!
Being known by name is very precious, but have you noticed how many of the women in the Bible are unnamed? The woman at the well. The woman who touched the hem of Jesus’ robe. The woman healed on the Sabbath… The Old and New Testament are full of unnamed godly women. Tradition has named some of them, for example Moses’ mother is called Jochabed, but on the whole they are unknown and unnamed to us – but not to God.
One of my favourite Psalms is 139 which tells us that God sees and knows us, and in Isaiah it says our names are written on his hand. I read a version of the Bible that said our names are tattooed on his hands – and that image has really stayed with me so much so when I see tattoos on people in the street it makes me remember that we have a God who remembers us always and I give thanks for his faithfulness. I wonder what you see day by day that prompts you to recall and remember God’s faithfulness to you?
But to get back to “A Fine Lady”, in Banbury is the most beautiful statue of the fine lady on her white horse, she has rings on her fingers and bells on her toes, she is finely dressed but unnamed. Some sources suggest she is Lady Godiva of Coventry fame who also rode a horse naked through Coventry to protest at the injustice of the taxes imposed on the citizens by her husband. We will never know, but if it was her, in this statue her finery is her outer clothing, in Coventry her finery would be her inner strength and her standing up to injustice.
“That’s no lady, that’s Sister Denise” certainly put me in my place! But I would hope that each of us is the best – the finest – we can be, using our skills, gifts and graces to God’s glory.
O God, may I centre my whole being on you, that you may become the centre of my being.
Create in me space for you so that your nature may become holy and wholly within me.
May I know afresh your holy presence touching me in body, mind and spirit,
that I may serve you in all I do and say.
Prayers for August by Denise Creed
Photo [Denise Creed]: Banbury Cross