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Pastors' Blog: Is God our Heavenly Mother?

This coming Sunday, May 12, 2024, is Mother's Day. The gift of life our mothers have given us; the journey of pregnancy and carrying an alien - yet integral - "other" within one's body; the experiences of miscarriages and loss of one's child even before a birth; the bond that is unique to mother and child once born; these are things I as a man, even a father, cannot know in the way a woman might. Women, mothers, mothering aunts, neighbors, mentors and caregivers . . . such people show us dimensions of the Holy One that only they can share.

Hosea 11:1-4 NRSV 

When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.

The more I called them,
    the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
    and offering incense to idols.

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
    I 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.

What a beautiful image the Scriptures give us. As a man, a father, I can put myself in this text. Yet, there is a "lifting to the cheek" and a "bending down to nurse" that is unique to women.  I hope you had a mother who displayed this kind of love. This will be one of our readings for this Sunday.

In my sermon Sunday I want to honor those who are mothers. I wish to recognize that motherhood is not an essential part of womanhood, while at the same time recognizing that the gifts and sentiments of motherhood are known to us only through women's' experience. With the Scriptures I wish to celebrate that beautiful and essential elements of who God is can only be understood, shared and revealed when we embrace God as our Heavenly Mother. God is neither man nor woman, neither female nor male - but we are. This is why God comes to us through images and experiences we can understand. As we embrace the "us" God has made us to be, along with so many other dimensions of our human diversity and experience, we grow in our understanding and love of God. 

Thanks Mom!

Pr. Dave Brauer-Rieke

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