Happy Are They Who Trust in Her

A follow-up post to “If God is Like a Father” by Andrew Stephens-Rennie.

If God is somehow like a Father,
I guess that’s fine.
But if such a thing is possible,
then God is like a Mother, too.

“Like newborn infants,” Peter writes,
“long for the pure, spiritual milk,”
so that by it you may grow
into salvation —
if indeed you have tasted
that the Lord is good.”

Taste and see that God is good
Happy are they who trust in Her!

Happy are they who trust in Her,
the one who embraced the pain,
thrush, mastitis, low supply,
sleepless night after sleepless night
to bring you comfort and food.

Happy are they who trust in Her,
the one who rocked you soothingly,
who caressed your sprouting hair,
who told you countless stories
while holding you dear.

Happy are they who trust in Her,
the one who responded swiftly
in the dead of night
as your lungs scream, tears stream,
new molars on their way.

Happy are they who trust in Her,
the one from whom all life flows
food, companionship, comfort
pouring herself out, in all things
for the ones she loves.

Happy are they who trust in Her,
whose body is no-one’s possession
but her own
who feeds us with her very essence,
who knits us together
who brings us life.

Happy are they who trust in Her,
for it is her powerful womb in which we
live and move and have our being.

Images race through my mind,
imagining God as mother.
Metaphors foreign to body and mind
cracking the limits of language and experience

Her body is not my body,
her thoughts are not my thoughts.

And yet

This dislocation of intimate estrangement
sparks renewal to my faith.

If God were only a Father,
He’d be easier to contain,
a passive, prosaic bystander
bearing witness to the fierce
poetry of making space within.

Since reading a tear-inducing reflection from Lillian Keil,
the one in which she compares her
experience of breastfeeding
with the Eucharist,
I have found myself on the
meditative journey of embracing
this word made flesh
this word made strange.

“Through the breaking of the bread,” she writes,
“God invites us into the nursing relationship:
the meeting of all our needs.”

These words have not let go of me,
have not ceased to spark new thoughts
have not ceased to unleash the
creative potential that only
our Mother could.

I keep returning to Lillian’s words
in moments throughout the day
a mother comforting her child at the park
or my youngest jumping into his mother’s arms

The emotions uncontrollably rush in:
awe-exclusion-possibility-hope.
Contour and possibility unleashed
by the life-giving Creator
of milk, mucous, and blood.

Her words burst forth in longing
for an experience of God
I had not imagined,
I cannot remember
will never experience
in the body I’ve been given.

Her words help me to recognize the beauty
of the gift I’ve been given
the gift
of this body and the way
it experiences
God
God’s good creation
God’s beloved creatures

Her words help me to recognize the limits
of the gift I’ve been given
the gift
of this body and the way
it experiences
God
God’s good creation
God’s beloved creatures.

The path unfolds,
The journey continues.

Following behind her,
I am learning.

What comes presently to mind
are the limits of this perspective, this experience,
and the incompleteness of
dominant metaphor.

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Andrew Stephens-Rennie
Andrew is a writer, dreamer and organizer with a keen interest in developing leaders in faith, compassion and justice.

Andrew serves on staff at Christ Church Cathedral in Vancouver, BC as Director of Ministry Innovation, with primary responsibility for St. Brigids, an emerging Christian community where questions are honoured, faith is nurtured, and discipleship pursued.
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