Pastor Shawn Hannon
Hope Lutheran Church Arcade, NY
One of the first lessons I learned in seminary was to change the pronouns I used for God. On any paper, in sermons, or even in conversation God was not to be referred to as “He.” Passing a course was on the line. The idea, of course, was that God doesn’t have a gender. God is God. There’s nothing like him. But there I go again. I just said, “him.”
After graduation I reverted to my previous ways using him, he and his often in relation to God. But for the record, that has nothing to do with God being male. God’s not. It’s mostly because in seminary they taught me to say things like, “God decided Godself to save God’s children from the sin that separates us from God.” Saying things the hard way just isn’t my style.
Last Father’s Day I was approached by someone asking if we could sing the song “Good, Good Father” during worship. Of course, we did. Every contemporary Christian worship band in America did. But strangely, no one asked me to sing a song about God’s mothering love for us in worship last week on Mother’s Day. And I wondered why. God, after all, is as much of a mother to us as God is our father, but don’t just take my word for it. Listen to what scripture teaches us.
- Genesis 1: “Humankind was created in God’s image. In the image of God, God created them. Male & female, God made them.” That says, male and female are God’s image.
- Deuteronomy 32:18: “You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.” So God gave us birth! Last I checked that was a mother’s job. Just saying.
- Isaiah 66:13: “As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”
- Matthew 23:37: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!”
And trust me folks, we’re just scratching the tip of the iceberg. Thousands of years of tradition and too many Sunday School lessons teaching us God is an old man sitting on a white cloud have clouded our judgment. Sure God’s a good, good father. But God’s the most amazing mother ever as well.
So when you think about the people who brought you into the world, who have given you life from their own, who have fed you, nourished you, clothed you, comforted you, and consoled you, and you pause to say thank you to those women, don’t forget to thank the original source from whom all good things come. Our mother in heaven.
For more inspiration and insights from Pastor Scott and Pastor Shawn’s past columns, please visit www.jamestowngazette.com and click on the Faith Matters page. The Jamestown Gazette is proud to present our county’s most creative and original writers for your enjoyment and enlightenment.