“And the donkey said to Balaam, ‘Am I not thy donkey?'”
Well, predictably, I fell off the AdventUs bandwagon after a mere three days, because I foolishly thought that things would slow down once classes ended. Ar har har.
But I had to come back for today’s, because this is inexplicably one of my favorite stories in the Bible–the story of Balaam’s ass–and it is quoted by one of my favorite people in church history: Jarena Lee.
Jarena Lee was a 19th century African-American circuit-riding preacher, who left behind the most incredible accounts of her experiences. One year, she “travelled two thousand three hundred and twenty-five miles, and preached one hundred and seventy-eight sermons.” WHO DOES THAT.
Though she got the blessing of Richard Allen, a famous AME preacher, to follow her call and preach, Jarena still faced plenty of persecution because she was black and female. Once, when a church elder kicked up a fuss about this woman being allowed to preach in his church, Jarena responded:
If an ass reproved Balaam and a barn-door fowl reproved Peter, why should not a woman reprove sin? Maybe a speaking woman is like an ass, but I can tell you one thing: the ass seen the angel when Balaam didn’t.
It’s not the most empowering feminist rally cry ever, but damn, is it catchy–and reassuring. Even if we speak with the mouth of an ass (AND BOY DO I SOMETIMES), God can still use us.