I was 30 years old the first time I heard a woman preach.
And no, it wasn’t a women’s conference. Or a Bible study. She wasn’t a visiting missionary, or giving that cute little mini message that happens before the actual sermon.
I mean honest-to-goodness-Sunday-morning-real-deal-preaching.
I happened to be at a church I drop in on once in a blue moon. After being enveloped in the sweetness of worship, I settled contentedly into my straight-backed chair. Bible open, pen poised. Ready.
Then she walked up.
I had never seen a She walk up to the platform. On a Sunday morning. You know, when the serious Christians come to church to hear a message. The message. For, like, the whole week.
My pen froze in my hand and I looked around nervously.
Was someone going to get upset? Leave? Was she going to be greeted with eye rolls and scowls?
I held my breath and darted my eyes to the right and left.
As I scanned the congregation, I realized I was the only one who wasn’t completely at ease.
Bibles were being flipped open, pleasant expressions remained intact, all eyeballs stayed decidedly fixed forward.
Actually, I was the only one acting anything less than a functioning human being. I chided myself for thinking I was in for a rumble, and assumed the settled posture of my fellow congregants.
I had several friends who attended the church, and I later brought up the fact that I had never heard a woman preach before that Sunday. I was greeted with raised eyebrows and looks of comic disbelief.
“Really? You can’t be serious.”
I was serious.
And their amused bewilderment left me feeling something I wasn’t expecting.