(Brooke’s generosity Blog)
May 13, 2018
It is a characteristic of God to overcome evil with good.
Jesus Christ therefore, who himself overcame evil with good, is our true Mother. We received our ‘Being’ from Him and this is where His Maternity starts. Just as God is our Father, so God is also our Mother. – Julianna of Norwich, 1395
I copied the words of Julian of Norwich from the Vatican web site.
Her “Revelations of Divine Love” written in 1395, is the first book in the English language written by a woman. She lived in Norwich, which was the second largest city in England at the time, after London. She was a religious leader and a theologian.
At the age of thirty, on 13 May 1373, (645 years ago today) Julian was struck with a serious illness and was given the last rites. As a priest held a cross over her head, she experienced a series of visions. One of the visions was of the love of Jesus and the love of God encompassing the love of parents for a child, both father, and mother.
Sometimes, whether it comes as a vision to one who is ill, or because of a loss of home, love, friend, or family member, grief can walk beside us and teach us new things. On Mother’s Day some of us remember our mothers. Some of us celebrate ‘family’ as a gift from God. Some of us appreciate our church family as the people who walk beside us in our journeys.
No one knows our stories as well as we do, or as well as God does.
When I first heard God addressed as “Mother God” it took me by surprise. I had heard many addresses to God, as Lord, or Creator, or Redeeming God, or as Father, Son or Holy Spirit, but not as Mother. After a while I got curious and looked at the research. To my surprise, all of the biblical scholars were in agreement; the Holy Spirit was properly addressed as both male and female, or with a non-gendered term.
The book of Proverbs in the Hebrew Scriptures pictures God’s Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Wisdom. She is referred to by the Greek term “Sophia” or Spirit of Wisdom. This was an exclusively female term. This was a long standing biblical understanding, yet, I had never heard it.
The issue was the traditions of the church. Church leaders did not address God as female because it was just not done. Women had no vote. Women were not considered ‘persons’ in Canada until 1929 for goodness sake. It took decades to allow women to become elders and ministers in the Presbyterian Church.
This Mother’s Day, also known as Christian Family Sunday, let us celebrate that we have made progress. But we have not yet entered the Promised Land of full equality for all God’s children. Women are still receiving less pay and less recognition for the same work, and are living in fear, because violence against women is far too prevalent in our world, on our streets, and in our homes. It is time.
The church under the guidance of the Holy Spirit must lead the way for full equality. With Her help, we will get there.