Sunday, May 13, 2012

Jesus, Our Peanut Butter and Jelly God

In my Lutheran churches of which I've been a part, God our Mother hasn't gotten much attention at all.  Lots and lots of father language.  Not much mother language--alas.

We may have to do some digging, since it's not emphasized much in the Lectionary readings, but if one looks, the motherly face of God is there, hiding in plain sight.

For example:

Deuteronomy 32:18 describes God as a mother giving birth to a nation: “You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”

Psalm 91 uses a variety of images of refuge to describe God, including the symbol of God as bird with sheltering wings; even with the male pronouns, I see this bird as a mother figure.

Psalm 139:13 gives us this image of God: “For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.”

And we could study all the mothers in the Bible and think about what we can learn from them.

Or we could think about our own Savior, who gives us sustenance made from bodily fluids.  We don't often make the connections between the Eucharist and breast milk.  How might our lives be different if our churches emphasized the connection?

I think about my own mother, the endless sandwiches that she made.  I think of her now and her love of grilled cheese sandwiches.  I have a sudden vision of Jesus making us all peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Jesus would cut the sandwiches on the diagonal, if we wanted.  Jesus would cut the crusts off our sandwiches without lecturing us about the nutrients lost.

I think of my mother, who opened our home to various people stranded in our town without family on holidays.  Usually she met them through our church.  I loved having seminarians over for holiday dinners and brunches.  I loved the stray musicians.  It was great.

Now that I'm older, I love the example of hospitality that my parents modeled for us.  And I know that God desires a similar hospitality from us, for us.

Again, I have a vision of Jesus creating a holiday feast and inviting a rag tag bunch of us over to share a good meal and a discussion about music, movies, whatever's on our minds.

On this Mother's Day, let us honor all the ways we've been nurtured.  Let us look for ways to nurture the world which so needs our love and care.

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