Sunday, May 12, 2013

God My Mother

My Wife, Karen, in Our Meditation Garden

On this "Mothers Day" I have been thinking about about the images of God that we carry around in our heads. 

In the Judaeo-Christian tradition, God is generally depicted as a male. Bible stories, doctrine and theology, art, literature, hymns - all replete with multiple pictures of God that almost exclusively rely upon male imagery.

I suppose this shouldn't be too surprising considering the fact that most of the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures and doctrine were written by men and controlled by a male hierarchy.

As long as one realizes that our images of God are simply ways to help us think about the great and unexplainable mystery of who God IS,  I suppose there is nothing wrong with depicting God using male  imagery - thinking about God as "father." However, male imagery often carries a lot of fairly unhelpful connotations with it.

Men - fathers  are often thought to be stern, sometimes aloof, strict disciplinarians. Perhaps why so many people imagine God as aloof, distant and demanding is because the picture of God in their heads is an image of God as a "man" up in the sky.

On this Mothers Day, I reflected upon what would have happened if women wrote the Bible and if mothers were the primary developers of the doctrine of both the Hebrew and the Christian traditions. 

I wonder what kind of imagery about God we would carry around in our heads if our "God pictures" were primarily feminine.

My wife , Karen, and I have raised two sons who are now grown. Over the years I have deeply admired the great tenderness and affection with which  my wife has "mothered" our boys. Lots of stereotypes about "mothers" inevitably come out on a "Mothers Day." But, as I see it, some of the stereotypes are pretty accurate.

We think of mothers as gentle, intimate, affectionate, and tender.  Mothers also have a protective, even "fierce love," for their children - shielding them from harm, defending them when they are in trouble, never abandoning them regardless of what they have done. 

As I think about it, the primary image of God that I carry around in my head (not just today but always)  is the picture of God as my mother. 

God, my Mother, a Holy tender Presence in my life, gently abiding, intimately caring for me,  passionately guarding, never abandoning me regardless of what i have done.

Blessings to you today - in the name of the Holy Mother.

1 comment:

  1. Megan Malone FranklinMay 30, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    I love Bobby McFerrin's interpretation of Psalm 23:

    The Lord is my shepherd, I have all I need.
    She makes me lie down in green meadows;
    beside the still waters she will lead.
    She restores my soul, she rights my wrongs.
    She leads me in a path of good things,
    and fills my heart with song.
    Even though I walk through a dark and dreary land,
    there is nothing that can shake me.
    She has said she won't forsake me -
    I'm in her hand.
    She sets a table before me in the presence of my foes.
    She anoints my head with oil, and my cup overflows.
    Surely, surely goodness and kindness will follow me all the days of my life,
    and I will live in her house forever, forever and ever.

    Glory be to our Mother and Daughter and to the Holy of Holies, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.