The wind blew and flames of the Spirit appeared. In Acts 2, the first Pentecost, Peter is preaching to a crowd of 2,000 men and women, including Mary, the mother of Jesus.
16) But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17) In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.
18) And on my servants, both men and women I will pour out my Spirit in those days: and they will prophesy.
Fifty days after Easter, Pentecost is a much quieter celebration. This day deserves more attention, especially for the empowerment of women. Consider the rarity of female voices throughout written history. The recent attention given to three young women within a few years is remarkable. We have seen teenagers excelling in sports and entertainment, but where have we heard the voices of girls confronting the most important issues of today?
Greta Thunberg born 2003 in Sweden, addressed the United Nations urging action on climate change and the protesting the lack of action to make changes for the benefit of her generation.
Amanda Gorman, American born 1998, was center stage at the 2021 inauguration when she eloquently read her poem, “The Hill We Climb.” She expressed the frustrations of oppression and marginalization as a black woman.
Malala Yousafzai, Pakistan born 1997, at age 15 was shot in the head by Taliban attempting to assassinate her because of her advocacy of girls’ education. She is the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.
This is not a commentary on the relative merits of these young women, although the diverse causes they advocate for cannot be disputed. For the sake of our grandchildren, we are concerned for the care of the environment, the right of all people to thrive without discrimination, and access to education for all girls.
These girls made headlines in their teens when most kids are just finding their voices. They have been gifted with unlikely expressive and thinking abilities for their age. The world is finally giving young females the microphone. They are being invited to appear in important forums where they speak eloquently words of wisdom and warning. When has this happened in the decades and even centuries past? Anne Frank comes to mind, before that Sacagawea and Joan of Arc. Have I missed any more girls in their teens, or very early twenties, whose voices are noted in history books? It is not that young females have never before been talented and articulate. They simply were never given opportunities.
Is the prophecy of Joel, as quoted by Peter 2,000 years ago, finally becoming noticeable? I am not making a prediction here about “the last days” which we have been living in since the cross. Only that the prophesying voices of girls is one imminent sign of the kingdom ripening when all voices will be heard and equal. The Spirit is not a respecter of persons and the flame alights where she wills.
I have always been an advocate for the empowerment of girls. Many years ago, I listened to a sermon on the daughter of Jairus: Matthew 9:18-25; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56. I grew increasingly furious as the parts of Jesus, Jairus, and the disciples were highlighted, but why was the girl’s experience never considered?
Her story was the first that I wrote and then I added the stories of four more New Testament girls and five Old Testament girls for a total of ten girls. I emphasize−I chose girls who could believably be not more than twelve to fourteen years old in their biblical setting. A few are named, most are not. Some are well-known, most are mentioned in only a sentence.
It is vitally important that today’s girls are empowered by seeing themselves in the Bible and the important ways they used their voices.
For sample stories from Bold Girls Speak: Girls of the Bible Come Alive Today, published by Wipf & Stock, 2013. See my website at marystromerhanson.com