Tag Archives: Mother’s Day

At Church Today: Mothers' Day Service & 2nd Timothy 3:16

Today at church, we celebrated Mother’s Day, with an interesting twist in the sermon.  I walked into church dreading the worst, a message about Osama Bin Laden and his demise, because last week that what I witnessed at work.

Thankfully, that did not happen. Instead a surprise came.  The pastor focused on 2nd Timothy 1:1-5, but the meat of his sermon came from verse 5 as well as 2nd Timothy 3:16.  In verse 5, the pastor noted, Paul says that he recognized that there was a faith that lived in Tim’s grandmother, and then in his mother Eunice and now Tim.  This passage emphasized the role of Jewish parents in the raising of their children in the stories of the Torah.  So, when one comes to 3:16, the pastor continued, the verse is not about a proof-text to defend inerrancy but describing how Jewish-Christian children were to be raised, in the context of the family.  That is why in verse 3:15 Paul is talking about Tim being weaned on God’s holy word from his days as an infant (see, children’s ministry is important).  Scripture is an instrument provided by God for the faithful to know the will of God, but that this knowledge cannot be understood apart from Christ Jesus, or community (our mother, the Church– as Clement of Alexandria would say).

Happy Mother's Day, YHWH!: the Motherhood of God

Anonymous 16th century portrait of Calvin. (Fr...

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“There’s a ghetto up in Heaven and it’s ours, Black Power is what we scream as we dream in a paranoid state And our fate, is a lifetime of hate Dear Mama, can you save me?”- 2Pac, “Only God can judge me.”

“If the Trinity is a community, then what corresponds to it is the true human community of men and women. A certain de-patriarchalization of the picture of God results in a de-patriarchalization and de-hierarchalization of the church too. […]Like Israel’s prophets, Christianity actually replaced the patriarchal and matriarchal powers of origin by the messianism of the Child, as the bearer of hope and the beginning of the future [ala Paul Tillich].”- Jurgen Moltmann, The Spirit of Life: A Universal Affirmation, 160.

Optimistic Chad’s latest tweet inspired this post.  It reminded me of Suzanne McCarthy’s series a couple of years ago on the book, Fire From Heaven: Studies in Syriac Theology and Liturgy: see here. In the Syriac Christian tradition, because the term for spirit is translated from the feminine noun ruha, there was a tradition to refer to God as “Compassionate Mother.”  Suzanne explains,

“That is, the Godhead is in reality neither gendered nor hierarchical, but we use these images to communicate something about God. The trinity can be talked about both as an all masculine cohort of Father, Son and Spirit; and as Father, Mother and Son. The image is not the reality.”

For those that will now come with the weapon we know as Sola Scriptura, I proffer this image from my work on the Gospel of John and the Fatherhood of YHWH. With the exception of the Judeans who claim that God is their father (8:41), Jesus is the lone character in the Fourth Gospel who asserts that God is his parent. Jesus and the Jewish Christians in the Johannine community, while referring to God as Father, would also be aware of the references to God as mother in the Jewish scriptures such as Isaiah 66:13 which compare YHWH to a mother who nurses her child. Systematic theologian Daniel Migliore, in a report to the Presbyterian Church USA on the nature of the Trinity, (see HERE) talks about John Calvin as the God who gives Godself just as mothers give themselves to their children. We must understand that we, as the faithful, are not free to name God anything that we please, for that is the unfreedom and gift sent to us by God’s self-disclosure. However, God, who is beyond our ideas of gender constructs, who is spirit, as Jesus tells us in John 4, has made space for both males and females to speak of God. Therefore, I would say that any attempt to limit God’s being based on gender is adding to Scripture (contrary to sola scriptura), which is prohibited by the author/s of Revelation.

God as a Parent is a metaphor founded upon biblical images; revelation is God naming Godself, while our response is our calling upon God in worship.  The recognition of God as Compassionate Mother, therefore, just like the Creeds, is a petition that should be directing us all in the direction of YHWH, who has made women and men in God’s own image.


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Abolitionist Family Values: West Virginia and The Original Mothers' Day Campaign

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I came across this post via facebook. It gives one lots to think about this Mothers’ Day, with the story of 2 mothers and their fight for recognition. One, the author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, Julia Ward Howe, and the other a community organizer for the rights of women workers, Ann Maria Jarvis.

Oh yes, and fact: the USA started Mothers’ Day before Canada. See, we are still better!


Here is the story: ALL VOICES.COM: Mothers’ day: The Radical Roots.

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