The poem by Edwina Gateley in my previous post set me thinking...
...thinking about the maternal nature of God's love.
Now, before some of you rear up or start bristling, I'm not about to say that God is female. But there again, I'm not going to say that God is male, either. Personally, I believe that God transcends gender - God encompasses both the perfect male and female characteristics - after all, how else could God create women and men?
And I promise that I will base some future posts around the paternal nature of God's love! But for now, because it is in the forefront of my mind, I'd like to think of some of the ways in which the Bible talks about the feminine side of God - and focus on one Bible passage in particular.
If you want to do some homework, then you might choose to look up these references in the Bible.
Deuteronomy 32:18 ...the God who gave you birthBut my favourite passage on this subject has to be Psalm 131. Now you can approach this psalm in one of two ways (probably lots more, but I'm keeping to the things I know!). You can use the psalm to do a 'lectio divina' type of meditation - mulling and savouring. Or you can be more kataphatic and take your imagination for a little exercise - you can visualise being the weaned child at its mother's (God's) breast. I particularly like the fact that it says a 'weaned' child - not a colicky, fractious newborn, but a child who can smile, laugh and respond to its mother.
Psalm 22:9&10 ...God as midwife
Isaiah 42:14 ...God crying out like a woman in labour
Isaiah 49:15 ...God compared with a nursing mother
Isaiah 66:13 ...God like a mother comforting her child
I once did a meditation based on this psalm when I was on a retreat at St Beuno's - curled up in a lovey comfortable armchair. It was a wonderful time of prayer for me and I will always remember it.
Enjoy the psalm.
A song of ascents. Of David.
My heart is not proud, LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
But I have calmed myself
and quieted my ambitions.
I am like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child I am content.
Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.