It’s not often that I’m up and waiting at a train station at seven thirty on a Saturday morning, but the promise of a hot coffee from my favourite cafe made the bite of this Autumn morning that bit gentler.
Upon turning a corner towards the Sydney Convention Centre we found ourselves weaving through groups and walking on our toes with strained necks to find the rest of ours. City-goers out to enjoy all that Darling Harbour offers must surely have been wondering what would ever lead such a crowd of women to descend on the Convention Centre. A friend put it well when she said, “I went to an all-girls high school, but even I find that to be a lot of women,” as though nothing quite compares to the sight of two thousand plus women gathered in one auditorium.
We spent the morning meeting women who have met Jesus, some in the last ten, twenty or thirty years, others who met Him two thousand years ago, face-to-face. Five is a not an insignificant number of talks to absorb in only two sessions, yet the gripping narrative of Luke’s gospel as it was read dramatically and then taught made each talk all the more weighty and thought-provoking.
As each speaker took us through stories of women who met Jesus in the book of Luke, what became plain is that the multitude of blessings that Jesus extended to these women are extended to us just as freely. We are offered a saviour in Jesus, just as Mary met her saviour when she raised her son. Just as the woman in Luke 7 was forgiven by Him and responded with extravagant love, we too can find forgiveness and should respond to Jesus with the same love. Simple faith in Jesus is what saw the bleeding woman healed, and Jesus offers us a cure for our spiritual brokenness if we trust Him.
Morning tea was a little like mayhem, but getting sidetracked amongst the hundreds of women offered the opportunity to catch up with a friend I don’t often see. After refuelling with apples, cupcakes and that ever-enticing tea or coffee we shuffled back to our seats for the last of the talks. These canvassed Martha and Mary, and the women who met the resurrected Jesus, who show just how dependent we’re to be on Jesus rather than expecting Him to need anything from us, and that knowledge of the resurrected Jesus should prompt worship, great joy and praise.
What seemed like it would be a lengthy lunch break flew past as we soaked up the sun. After heading into our final session, the elective “Following Jesus,” we were met with an encouraging stream of stories from women who have met Jesus and are daily learning what it looks like to follow Him.
As I left the building, my body felt tired but my mind was refreshed. The day full of women bearing witness to Jesus was a testament to Him and the blessing of salvation He offers to those who meet and receive Him.
- Lauren Mahaffey