Dec 31 – Samuel Ajayi Crowther

Samuel Crowther

Samuel Ajayi Crowther
Bishop of the Niger Territories
31 December 1891

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Dec 30 – Frances Joseph-Gaudet

Illumination - Frances Joseph-Gaudet

Frances Joseph-Gaudet
Educator + Prison Reformer
30 December 1934

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Dec 22 – Lottie Moon

Dec 22 - Lottie Moon

Lottie Moon
Missionary in China
22 December 1912

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Dec 22 – Henry Budd

illumination-henry-budd

Henry Budd
Priest
22 December 1875

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Dec 17 – William Garrison + Maria Stewart

Dec 17 - William Garrison + Maria Stewart

William Lloyd Garrison & Maria Stewart
Prophetic Witnesses
17 December 1879

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Dec 17 – Sarah the Matriarch

illumination-sarah-matriarch

Sarah
Matriarch
17 December BCE

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From My Jewish Learning

Biblical Sarah, Abraham’s wife and the matriarch of the Jewish people, is a strong and independent character.  When she cannot have children, Sarah takes the initiative and gives her maid-servant, Hagar, to Abraham so that he can have children through Hagar on Sarah’s behalf.

Hagar becomes pregnant, and Sarah sees that she “is diminished” in Hagar’s eyes (Genesis 16:4). Sarah brings this problem to Abraham, and Abraham, rather than deciding himself what to do, lets Sarah choose how to deal with Hagar, saying: “Here, your slave-woman is in your hands. Do to her what is good in your eyes” (Genesis 16:6).

Sarah abuses Hagar, and Hagar flees.  Hagar comes across a spring, where an angel of God appears to her.  The angel promises her that her descendants will become a great nation, and he orders her to return to Abraham.  Hagar returns and gives birth to a son, Ishmael.

At Isaac’s weaning ceremony, Sarah sees Ishmael “playing” (it is unclear exactly what he was doing) and again, Sarah takes the initiative.  She asks Abraham to send Ishmael away. Abraham is reluctant to do so, but God tells him: “Whatever Sarah tells you to do, listen to her” (Genesis 21:12), and he agrees and sends Hagar and her son away.

 In this story, Sarah acts independently, taking the initiative to decide the future of her family, even against her husband’s wishes.  How can we account for Sarah’s independent behavior in the patriarchal biblical world in which she lived? Why does Sarah, the woman, act to determine her family’s future while her husband, Abraham, is passive?