As we prepare to honor mothers everywhere this Sunday, may I suggest that we take at least a moment to imagine God’s love in the same way that we imagine a mother’s?
This is not a new thought. In fact, it’s a major thread in a 14th-century book called “Revelations of Divine Love,” (also the first book in the English language known to have been written by a woman) whose author, Julian of Norwich, put forth a theology that was groundbreaking for its time in three distinct ways:
- A view that sin was the product of ignorance rather than evil.
- A belief in a deeply loving, joyful and compassionate (versus wrathful) God.
- Specific references to God and Jesus as maternal.
Julian’s writings depicted God’s love as more earnestly encompassing than was typical for her time. She argued against the idea of sin as a truly wicked or malicious act requiring specific forgiveness, seeing sin as more akin to a necessary mistake humans make as they learn and grow to be the perfect beings God already sees them as being. One of her better known sayings is “All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.” She also wrote, “As truly as God is our Father, so truly is God our Mother.”
Personally, I see God as being a bit bigger than actual gender, so I’m not presenting these writings as an instigation to discussing God’s gender. Rather, I think it’s interesting to ask ourselves, in a culture where the gendering of God according to a male/female binary is absolutely dominant, how much that practice might hinder us from appreciating the true nature of God’s love.
God bless a mother’s love, and God bless mothers everywhere.