Dear friends on the journey,
From a young age, our life’s experiences, circumstances, and relationships with people, culture, community, and church influence our images of God. One place in particular beautifully illustrates images of God. In scripture, we see that God uses created beings and inanimate objects to represent God’s self: as creator, lawgiver, judge, architect, protector, fire, tabernacle, temple, king, healer, potter, vine, lord, king, shelter, light, rock, spirit, love, father, and of course, Jesus, God incarnate. In today’s gospel, Jesus likens himself as God the shepherd, ever the protector to a flock who knows his voice and follows in trust. The attributes of the shepherd are much like that of another image, perhaps a lesser-known image of God. So on this Mother’s Day, I reflect on God as Mother.
Do you know the story of the young child who cannot fall asleep for fear of the dark and all the bumps in the night? Several times, she calls out to her mother for comfort. Each time mom’s response is, “Don’t be scared; Jesus is always here with you.” Finally, the daughter says, “But mommy, right now I need Jesus with skin on!”
Today, we celebrate mothers as God with skin. As I remember my own grandmother Doris and think about my mom with her kids and grandkids, I can see all the Godly images and attributes in each of them, especially their unconditional love, patience, and forgiveness. Mothers are creators, and life givers, selfless and generous. They listen, guide, protect, and shelter. And a mother’s voice is known to her children, even in the womb.
Now, as a Nana, I understand how God must feel about us. I feel so much joy just thinking of my two grandsons and granddaughter and, when I am with them, oh, my heart just sings! I would give my life for each one of them. My patience with them and desire to teach them is immeasurable. There is nothing better than simply being in their presence as they nap, read, eat, and play.
They say, “You either are a mother or you had one.” So, today, I invite you to reflect on your own mom, grandma, or maternal figure.
How have they been your God as mother, God with skin for you? If you are a mother, grandmother or maternal figure, how do you image God for your own flock?