God our Mother
Yesterday at Forefront Brooklyn we explored a few ideas in worship round the idea of "God as Mother". I've been thinking about this for over a decade and I'm grateful to "The Liturgists" for putting words and music to this last year on Mother's Day.
PINK AND BLUE
Yesterday we went for a walk in the forest preserve, and two deer stood in the clearing. One grazed and wandered, took no notice of us. And the other stared at us, completely still, tensed and ready at every moment. The young deer was careless, wandering, unworried. Because the one who watched us was her mother.
The young deer was safe, because she was with her mother. And this mother deer did what mothers do: she protected, watched over, looked out for, stayed on guard over. She was looking across the field, eyes scanning back and forth, ready to protect her young at any moment.
We live in a world that draws a deep distinction between fathers and mothers—there are things that fathers do and things that mothers do, and in our world they’re not the same at all. It starts before we become parents, actually. We do this with all men and women, and before that, boys and girls.
A sonogram, black and white and gray swirls. It looks like old footage of a moon landing more than anything. But in that moment, gender is spoken, or maybe a few months later in a hospital room, and then you tumble into a world of pink, pink, pink, or blue, blue, blue–forever.
That’s how people are. We split people into pink and flowers and babies and high heels. Or blue and bravado and machines and muscles.
But God isn’t pink or blue. God doesn’t fit into our Game of Life pegs, tiny woman or tiny man, riding around the board in a tiny sedan.
God nurtures and protects and feeds his children, just like that mother deer in the clearing, with ferocity and power, ready to do anything for the children he loves. God listens and draws near. God holds and heals.
God our Mother.
God our Mother.
We know all about God our Father, and the beautiful images that go along with that idea: the strong, faithful, unshakeable love of a father. But to only know God the Father would be like only knowing daytime but never night—to see the sunrise, but never the gentle, haunting rise of a harvest moon, low in the sky, blood red and beautiful. To know only the Father God would be like seeing the bright, dazzling sun, but never the stars spreading across the sky like so much fairy dust.
God our Mother, reaching out to us with those hands—mother hands, strong and coursing with love, binding up wounds and soothing scrapes, holding us together, holding us safe.
God our Mother, feeding us, nourishing us, giving us what we need to grow and thrive, taking care of us in big and small ways, seeing us, knitting us back together with love and grace when we’ve been broken.
God our Mother, believing in us. That’s what a mother does: she looks into your eyes and she says, I believe in you. I know you. I know you were made for great things. A mother says, you’re not too small or too scared. You’re not too frail or too flawed. You’re mine. And that’s all you need to know.
God our Mother whispers to each one of us You’re mine. And that’s all you need to know.