Yesterday, in Panama, was Mother’s Day. A day everyone travels home to visit Mum. Like a sacred pilgrimage.
And this got me thinking about what is the source of a woman’s strength & energy? How is it that a “masculine” God could possibly fill us with energy to be tender, merciful, compassionate, & caring?
I’m reminded of a quote by Lynn Japinga:
Language about God should help us to understand and encounter God, but we should not confuse the reality of God with the limits of our language.Lynn Japinga
The fact that we have been raised to see God as “He” and “Father” should not take away from the experience of Spirit – neither male nor female. God is God.
I am that I AM
This is simply an existence & being – not a “He” or “She”. Many times we try to personalise this – “Mother/Father God”. Some have tried to rewrite this as “Our Mother who art in Heaven”.
But while we try to understand how to relate to Spirit in a way that is meaningful to us, we should understand that it is our limitations that interfere with this understanding.
People describe God in feminine terms, not because God is actually a woman, but because feminine or maternal traits say something true about God and about their experience with God.Lynn Japinga
Remember these descriptions of God in the Bible:
- a rose
- a lily
- a mother bear
- a lion
- not a lion, a lamb
- not the fire & wind, the still, small voice
Seems all a little contradictory – does it not?
And I admit, I struggle to accept that I cannot define or explain God. I cannot describe God adequately. I speak of God as Source – as Substance – as Divine Love.
But the reality is that I find it as impossible to explain as gender – even the gender within men & women. The same way that men are strong, some women are strong. We describe women as manly and men as feminine. Men produce testosterone, but so do women. Men can be caring and nurturing, just as women are.
Gender is hard to understand, because God is hard to understand.Sam A. Andreades
Consider this – God created humankind in God’s own image – male & female were created. God has characteristics of both the masculine & the feminine. And so, together – men & women – we make up a composite image of the Living God. Individually, if you took only one person in isolation – the image could be incomplete. That person could be judgmental, without a loving & compassionate heart. That person could be strong, and yet show no mercy.
But if we are to truly understand God – to understand what are called to imitate and become – we need to understand all of the characteristics, not just the feminine or masculine:
Throughout the Bible, we find that God is like an eagle that lifts on His wings, and like a mother eagle that tosses us out of the nest when it’s time to fly. God is like a mother hen, protecting us under her wings. Savage as a mother bear, whose cubs have been taken.
So, today I invite us to explore the feminine. The motherly. The nurturing.
As we practice presence, we sit in the silence of birthing, of teaching a small child to walk, being held in tender arms. We remember in the stillness that we are led with cords of kindness & bands of love. As we lean into the quiet, we recall the warmth of a mother’s embrace.
To understand Wisdom calling to us, we think of a woman calling out to her children to come home for dinner. And we take note that finding wisdom is the finding of a beautiful treasure, to be held close to our hearts.
How will you practice presence today?
I invite you to try the following:
- Find a quiet place, where you can be alone and in silence.
- Breathe deeply into your belly, slowly and easily. Evenly. Deep breaths in and out… rhythmically.
- Breathe into your heart – and focus opening your heart to Spirit’s divine love – a love beyond all human understanding. Imagine that Light and Love filling your heart… radiating out of your heart through your bloodstream, and reaching and renewing every cell of your body.
- Take a minute, to allow that Compassion to renew each cell, becoming aware of your breath once more. Remind yourself that every moment of every day you are a new being – a human becoming.
- Now breathe that Divine Love & Compassion up into your head – imagine that Light illuminating every thought.
- Consider giving Compassion & Light permission to filter your thoughts – so that you may be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Allow the following filters to begin to consciously apply to your thoughts over the next 24 hours: “Is this” —
- excellence, &
- worthy of praise?
- Let this be the filter of your thoughts – so that they might become more compassionate & loving.
- Now, swallow that Compassion, Divine Love & Wisdom down into your belly. Feel that Light set a fire in your belly – a fire of Love for Creator, for yourself & for others.
- Identify, for a moment, how that Love & Compassion feel for you. Allow that Love to become integral part of you, as you welcome and accept being loved!
- And allow that fire to light up the Courage you have within you. Feel that courage grow, as it is set alight by Light & Divine Love.
- Now take that Courage & Compassion back into your heart – and feel that Love grow as it radiates out from you.
If you choose, you may be that Light and Love in the world today and every day. How you choose to accept and reflect that love – depends entirely on you.