Lydia, a woman who was obviously one of the leaders in the Christian community, is among the interesting characters in the early church. Paul and his companions received shelter and welcome in her home and she presided at the inclusive meal. Scripture says” the Lord opened her heart…” Lydia was a “servant leader”, generous and open-minded. Scripture describes Lydia as a “seller of purple”, a business woman who dealth with the rich and had considerable personal wealth. She knew how to be a Christian in a materialistic and commercial world. Given the culture of the times, Lydia, a single woman, can be viewed as an example that strong, independent, and capable women were major figures in the Apostolic Church.
May I use my gifts to enable and encourage others to develop their own
Encourage and support the initiatives and talents of the girls and women in your circle of relationships. Break old concepts and stereotypes when they arise. Provide an environment of welcome, enthusiasm and strength for those among
whom you live and work.
We sat down and preached to the women who had come to the meeting.
One of these women was called Lydia, a devout woman from the town of Thyatira who was in the purple dye trade. She listened to us, and the Lord opened her heart to accept what Paul was saying. After she and her household had been baptized she sent us an invitation. ‘’If you really think me a true believer in the Lord, ’she said ‘come and stay with us’; and she would take no refusal.
“ from the prison they went to Lydia’s house where they saw all the community…”
Acts 16:13-15, 40
What women these Christians have!
Libanius (4th-century pagan philosopher)
These people do not know that while Barak trembled, Deborah saved Israel, that Esther delivered from supreme peril the children of God … Is it not to women that our Lord appeared after His Resurrection? Yes, and the men could then blush for not having sought what the women had found.
Jerome, (after criticism for dedicating his books to women)
It is precisely women’s experience of God that this world lacks. A world that does not nurture its weakest, does not know God the birthing mother. A world that does not preserve the planet, does not know God the creator. A world that does not honor the spirit of compassion, does not know God the spirit. God the lawgiver, God the judge, God the omnipotent being have consumed Western spirituality and, in the end, shriveled its heart.
One of the best-kept secrets in Christianity is the enormous role that women played in the early church. Though they leave much unsaid, still, both Christian and secular writers of the time attest many times to the significant involvement of women in the early growth of Christianity.
In the Church at Philippi two women were to distinguish themselves, Euodia and Syntyche (Phil 4:2). Paul’s entreaty to mutual agreement suggests that these two women played an important role in that community. In short, without the generous contribution of many women, the history of Christianity would have developed very differently.
Pope Benedict XVI