Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Compassionate Mother: part 7

I have been exploring the mother imagery in referring to the different members of the Godhead. Doug has posted on Jesus our Mother,
    Jesus, like a mother you gather your people to you; •

    you are gentle with us as a mother with her children.

    Often you weep over our sins and our pride, •
    tenderly you draw us from hatred and judgement.

    You comfort us in sorrow and bind up our wounds, •
    in sickness you nurse us, and with pure milk you feed us.

    Jesus, by your dying we are born to new life;
    by your anguish and labour we come forth in joy.

    Despair turns to hope through your sweet goodness; •
    through your gentleness we find comfort in fear.

    Your warmth gives life to the dead, •
    your touch makes sinners righteous.

    Lord Jesus, in your mercy heal us; •
    in your love and tenderness remake us.

    In your compassion bring grace and forgiveness, •
    for the beauty of heaven may your love prepare us.

    A Song of Julian of Norwich

    God chose to be our mother in all things •
    and so made the foundation of his work,
    most humble and most pure,
    in the Virgin’s womb.

    God, the perfect wisdom of all, •
    arrayed himself in this humble place.

    Christ came in our poor flesh •
    to share a mother’s care.

    Our mothers bear us for pain and for death; •
    our true mother, Jesus, bears us for joy and endless life.

    Christ carried us within him in love and travail, •
    until the full time of his passion.

    And when all was completed and he had carried us so for joy, •
    still all this could not satisfy the power of his wonderful love.

    All that we owe is redeemed in truly loving God, •
    for the love of Christ works in us; Christ is the one whom we love.

Damien hopes to collect these references in one place. I will post Rachel's poem next. It deserves a post of its own.


Kristen said...

I was thinking the other day about Paul's words, "Desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby." It occurred to me how much my thinking is shaped by my culture. I never equated this verse with God-as-Mother, because the image that forms in my mind is that of an infant drinking from a bottle, not suckling from a breast. But isn't it true that Paul's original readers would have had an image of breast-feeding in their mind? And who was the Source of the "milk" of the word, if not God?

McSpinster said...

I grew up in a church that calls God "Father-Mother." This is the prayer offered to children, and it is one I occasionally invoke as an adult, when I am troubled:
Father-Mother God, loving me
Guard me while I sleep
Guide my little feet up to thee.

In my faith tradition, God isn't seen as male or female but as spiritual qualities: intelligence, truth, life, law, love, soul (beauty). These reflect both strength and flexibility, qualities that are inherent in both genders, there to protect, guide and correct us.

As it turns out, my mother was a "better Christian" than my dad, and I always said this prayer with her, so the sense of God being mothering is very strong with me. But the men in my church readily identify God as moth father/mother, so it is not just me. And they are extremely thoughtful and manly men. Nice to know that many men don't have a problem with defining God this way.