I have a big question for you this week:
Who is God?
If you are reading, then take some time to really think about this and write down some answers.
Now, amidst all your answers, what have you neglected?
It’s likely that one of your answers was Father. But did you also answer Mother?
The truth is this: God is our Mother.
Don’t believe me…? Well, listen to some of the places that describe God as a mother:
Genesis 1:27 – The image of God described as male and female
God created humanity in God’s own image,
in the divine image God created them,
male and female God created them.
Hosea 11:3-4 – God described as a mother
God: “Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I who took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.”
Hosea 13:8 God described as a mother bear
Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and tear them asunder…
Deuteronomy 32:11-12 – God described as a mother eagle
Like the eagle that stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, God spreads wings to catch you, and carries you on pinions.
Deuteronomy 32:18 – God gives birth
You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.
Isaiah 42:14 – God as a woman in labor
God: “For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept myself still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labor, I will gasp and pant.”
Psalm 131:2 – God is a Mother who weans the human
Psalmist: But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
Psalm 123:2-3 – God described as a woman
As the eyes of a servant looks to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to you, YHWH, until you show us your mercy!
Matthew 23:37 and Luke 13:34 – God (via Jesus) as a Mother Hen
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”
Luke 15:8-10 God as woman looking for her lost coin
Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart
Note: covering with feathers is what a mother bird does.
There are many images and descriptions of God as female and mother throughout scripture. And so, if the Bible is God’s Word, then we must accept and claim these images as part of our faith and spirituality. And today is a wonderful day to do so.
Mother’s Day pushes us to remember all the mother’s in our life, the first of which is our Creator – our God who breathed in us the breathe of life who knit us together in the womb, who knows every hair on our head, who comforts and cares for us during our darkest moments.
And if this is not enough for you, then recall the Hebrew word used to describe the Holy Spirit: ruach. It is a feminine word describing the Third person of the Trinity as female. The Spirit hovering over the face of the deep in Genesis is feminine in form. And as the spirit hovers the Word comes forth and order chaos into a beautiful and wonderful world. In this way, the feminine spirit of God gives birth to all creation.
There is no doubt from scripture, especially Jesus’ own words, that God is our father. There is also no doubt from scripture that God is our mother. God’s presence and way…is marked by both the characteristic of male and female. God possesses the strength, independence, aggressiveness, competitiveness and providing hand that is stereotypically associated with male. And God also posses the gentleness, sensitivity, emotionality, acceptance, gracefulness and nurturing that is stereotypically associated with female. God is male and God is female.
I believe and embrace that God is both Mother and Father with every fiber of my being. And I hope you will as well. But at the end of the day, I understand you may still ask me, “How do you know God is mother?
Well, I know God is mother because God has worked through my earthly mother’s hands and heart to guide me to where I am today. In the first moment of my birth, my mother’s touch and care and nurture told my tiny soul about God? Her care was God’s care. Today, her care for me continues to show me who God is. So, I know God is my heavenly mother because my earthly mother has been such an amazing example of who God is in my life.
So, today, on this Mother’s Day, I say to my mother, “Thank you for being the very first person in the world to show me who God is, for nurturing me as God nurtures me, and for giving me such a clear example of God’s motherly love for me.” I hope you will thank your mother today, too.