During these past few weeks, it seems like everything in Nashville is just beginning to bloom. White blossoms adorn the Bradford pears, the grass is green and lush, and a cluster of yellow daffodils have emerged in front of my mailbox. The sunshine provides a stark contrast to the cold, gray winter behind us. With Easter season still on the mind, I reflect on the symbolism that these signs of spring offer for new life and for hope—themes that also run deeply in the work of Arise.
The Call to Rise Up
I first became involved with Arise several months ago. I had spent the summer in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo as an intern for Samaritan’s Purse, an international, evangelical relief organization. In the region, which is known as the “rape capital of the world,” I worked with a program that teaches local men about the biblical principles of gender equality, and equips women to support victims of sexual violence. I was connected with Neelley Hicks when I told someone about my master’s capstone project on this work, and have now been able to continue my involvement on the issue through the Arise team.
In our WhatsApp group chat recently, the team was discussing the new Esther logo and the translation of the word “arise” into French and Swahili. Neelley remarked that Esther will be “a symbol of a strong and happy woman, a beacon of light for other women to arise.” As Judith also explained recently, Esther, with her hands raised in a Christ-like gesture, encourages women to move out of despair and to claim their identity given by God.
A Message for All
As I think about the meaning of “arise,” I realize that to arise from stigma is not only a call for women to be freed from shame and hurt, but it is also a message for men—to arise from society’s stereotypes of masculinity, from expectations of aggression and dominance. In this Easter season, the concept is profoundly symbolic for all Christians as we think about the ascension and its implications for redemption. In the story of the resurrection, women were the first to learn that Jesus had risen from the tomb (Matthew 16). He later told his disciples to “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Matthew 16:15). Men and women together play a key role in sharing this message, one which is meant to be shared throughout the earth. As we come together as a church universal to overcome stigma, we also share the Easter message of “Arise.” It is an honor to be part of.
By Anna Warren, Student Volunteer – Harper Hill Global.
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