Those of us using the Revised Common Lectionary may choose to preach on the text from Acts, with its description of Tabitha as a disciple (albeit one who has died). No doubt in my mind that there were women disciples all along, even when Jesus was alive, although it may be that only here in Acts is a woman named as such.
Well, I haven’t done a search, so maybe women are named as disciples elsewhere, but regardless, it is rare and even a bit radical.
Tabitha is clearly a valuable disciple because the others want her back, no one wants her gone. Tabitha cares for people, she makes clothes, and tends to the needs of others in countless ways. That Peter raises Tabitha from the dead is a miracle, but it goes unexplained. Why does this happen? And what does one do with this text? We all know beloved and valuable people who die untimely deaths and are never brought back to life… It’s a text about miracles and death and life and new life, a reflection on the community of people who loved Tabitha and perhaps a commentary on discipleship. But what to do with it?
I will probably preach on this text, although at this moment I have no idea what I will say. I preached about miracles not that long ago, so maybe there is some food for fodder in what what I said then?
One thing I do know is that I will be here all day, with ample coffee and tea to fortify the creative juices. I also have an abundance of Girl Scout Cookies and will gladly share. Pull up a chair, let’s get this party going.