One thing that I haven’t mentioned . . . in addition to having been a nurse, Peace Corps Volunteer, Lawyer, and Teacher . . . I go to church! In fact, I’m quite involved with my church, St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church in Woodstock, NY. As part of my involvement, I write for and edit our weekly E-Newsletter, a sort of religious blog that I do every week. But, for some reason, I haven’t been sharing those writings on this blog. I think I’ll begin with this past week’s post referencing Mother’s Day, “Like a Mother Hen”:
I’m not going to get into the argument over gender-specific pronouns and names for God—he/she, Father/Mother, etcetera. As The Reverend Dr. L. William Countryman says in his book, Living on the Border of the Holy:
We cannot name the Hidden Reality [God] in the way that we name the objects of daily existence. . . . If we take “God” as a term pointing to something that coexists, on an equivalent level of reality, with “universe,” “cat,” “coin,” “loaf of bread,” or “daisy,” then God is reduced to being one thing among many.
God is too big to be defined by our little words, let alone concepts of gender, race, or anything else that categorizes. God is in a category of one, but in that ‘one’ is all.
Indeed, our Jewish brothers and sisters do not pronounce the name of God, but use different epithets, or titles, highlighting different aspects and various ‘roles’ of God.
However, as this Sunday is Mother’s Day, I will point out that one of my favorite metaphors for God uses the feminine, not the masculine. It comes from Jesus’ own words in the Gospel of Matthew:
Jerusalem, Jerusalem . . . how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. (Matthew 23:37)
Like so many other things that Jesus said and did, it turns our thinking about God on its head, opening us up to a new way of looking at God.
I think it is also important to recognize that one of Jesus’ last acts before giving ‘up his spirit’ on the cross was to ensure that his own mother would be cared for by handing her into the care of the ‘disciple whom he loved’ by telling his mother, “”Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.”” (John 19:26-27) As Christians—as humans—we should make it our responsibility to ensure that all mothers everywhere are cared for.
On this Sunday we recognize and honor one of God’s many aspects—mother. Mothers mirror God’s image to us and to the world-at-large. Let us give thanks for our mothers and mothers everywhere.