Message: All Wet?

In response to the masculine, almost exclusively so, language of traditional Christian worship many pastors and congregations have worked to find images of God that reclaim what’s sometimes called “the sacred feminine” or female images of God. You may have noticed that I will sometimes open our worship “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit” – which is the traditional Trinitarian greeting – and then continue with “One God, Mother of us all.”

That last portion serves as a counterbalance – a reminder that God is both three and one, that God is both Father and Mother. Or, perhaps more honestly, that God is beyond our categories. We use paradox on occasions like these in order to keep our minds open and flexible. We are shaped through worship by words such as these in the hope that we will become better able to detect the presence and activity of God in the surprising and hidden places of life that lie beyond the “either” and the “or.”

The image of God as “Mother of us All” finds a scriptural home in Jesus’ response to Nicodemus in this Sunday’s gospel. Nicodemus, a Pharisee, asks “can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” To which Jesus replies, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and the spirit” (Jn. 3:4-5). The sacrament of baptism, connected here with the image of the mother’s womb, invites us to imagine these waters as a passage through our mothering God’s very self. In baptism, God once again becomes “Mother of us All.”


In Christ,

Pastor Erik

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