Yesterday was a historic day in history of the United States of America. Kamala Debbie Harris was inaugarated as the first African-American, Southeast Asian Woman to the highest public office in the land. She represents that all things are possible to anyone, especially young girls that they can achieve anything if they put their minds to it.
Also, a powerful poem was read by Amanda Gorman bringing awareness to us that unity is possible, entitled The Hill We Climb:
When day comes we ask ourselves
Where can find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade,
We braved the belly of the beast,
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t
Where a skinny Black girl
descended from slaves
And raised by a single mother
Can dream of becoming President
Only to find herself reciting for one.
We are striving to forge our Union-
To compose a country committed
To all cultures, colors, characters and conditions of man
So we lift our gazes not to
But what stands before us.
Fierce and free
We will not be turned around or
Because we know our inaction and inertia
Will be the inheritance of the next
Our blenders become their burdens
But one thing is certain if we
merge mercy with might
And might with right then love
becomes our legacy
And change, our children’s
This reminds me of the story of “Paul and Thecla.” Paul is preaching for three days in Thecla’s hometown. She was a young teenage girl betrothed to be married. The birthright of girls throughout the Greco-Roman world was marriage and motherhood. Thecla refused to be married and chose to follow the Apostle Paul a itinerant preacher. Her mother and her fiancée accused Paul of being a magician. She visited him in prison and gave the gatekeeper her silver mirror. The governor of Iconium had Paul beaten and thrown out of the city. Thecla was sentenced to be burned since she refused to be married to her fiancée. When the fire burned around her, she made a sign of the cross, and was not burned. “For God, having compassion, caused a sound under the earth and a cloud filled with rain and hail, darkened the sky above, and the vessel poured forth all that was in it.” Thecla was saved.
In Antioch, a man named Alexander became enamored with her. He had to have her. She refused since she wanted to stay pure. He is the President of the city council and tries to force her to be his bride like what happened earlier in Iconium. She tears of his cloak and takes his crown from his head and publically shames him for trying to take her without his consent. She is then thrown to the Arena.
Many women protested her arrest and proclaimed her innocense. A huge lionness entered the arena, approaches Thecla, lays down and licks her feet. Thecla enters a pool filled with wild sea lions and says, “In the name of Jesus Christ, I baptize myself.” And she is suddenly protected with a ring of fire, and a glowing white robe surrounded her body. Paul proclaimed, “Go and teach the Word of God.“
Thecla lived until she was 90, and was one of Paul’s faithful companions in his mission. It goes on to show that she took back her power from those that held it over her. From her mother who tried to marry her off to her past fiancee, and from Alexander who was infatuated with her who tried to force her to marry.
According to Megan Watterson, “there is a divine will within each of us which is aligned with our soul purpose. We remember what true power is when we divest all outside authority of the power we had been giving them. Power is calling back all the control we give to others to dictate our lives. Our potential life partners, family members, our culture, and even our Ego.”
Thecla reminds us to take our power back and be who we are called to be. We can cut our hair short and baptize ourselves. We can do whatever we want to do and become without the permission of anyone else. We have the divine fire within us, we do not have to give it away.
She asks us, where have I given my power away?
Her mantra is – I call back my power from all places and all times and all places.
I am my own and belong to me.
Thecla is a symbol of what it looks like to follow our own dream, to not be limited, and told who we are to become. Just like Kamala who is now Vice President of the United States and will be the first woman President of the United States, she is a symbol that anything is possible especially for all young girls throughout the United States. She gives young girls like my daughter, stepdaughter and nieces that all things are possible.
Just like Amanda Gorman, Thecla spoke and taught the Word of God, just as Amanda spoke truth and hope in poetic form to a nation torn by devisiveness, great divisions, a pandemic, economic struggles, and racial inequity. She gave us words of hope of unity, equity, peace, love, and truth. All attributes of the Divine.
And like Sarah-La-Kali, the supposed daughter of Jesus and Mary Magdalene, she is a symbol of love, divine love and the divine saint of the outsiders and the Romani people. According to Megan Watterson, “Saint Sarah’s love is the kind that reaches you. There’s nothing you need to perfect or prove. There’s nothing you need to wait to become. There is only deep abiding truth that love is not outside of you, but inside of you. Our nature is perfect love. Love is also a destination where we will arrive someday when we are fully connected to the Divine at the end of the age. Saint Sarah is the healing that comes when we embody love again. In her poem, Amanda spoke of perfect love. This is the love that will heal our nation.