Mother's Day (2015)

Mother's Day (2015)

Lord, she who conceived
        and gave birth to Israel; [1]
swaddled and held them,
        bent down to feed them. [2]
Mother of your people,
        teaching them to walk;
loving them as only a mother can,
        unable to ever let them go.

Thank you for breaking the mold,
        the stereotype image we create
when we pray, “Father God,”
        week after week after week.
Pushing the boundaries of the command
        to make no images for worship;
aware that any image we might make,
        would put shackles on you.

I suppose as a mother (and as father),
        you understand the joy of this day;
seeing the children you made grow up:
        helping them through skinned knees,
        and heartbreaks when others hurt them.
And as a mother you also understand,
        the inexplicable grief of this day;
seeing a child you brought to life,
        die in your arms.
God, how do you survive that?
        I can’t imagine you ever “get over it,”
but carry it with you the rest of your life,
        a grief that lasts far too long.
(A grief akin to that of those who want children,
        but for a million reasons, cannot.)

Lord, I also hear you have a daughter,
        if I understand the text properly; [3]
a woman who has her own children -
        Woman Wisdom and those who follow her.
So in an odd sort of literary way, that would,
        incredibly – make you a grandmother;
I can’t stop smiling as I look down to see
        the images we have made of you,
        smashed into tiny pieces.

You must be proud: she is a prophet
        calling people to listen to her and live; [4]
a woman you encourage young men to love,
        to grasp, to hold, and to never let go. [5]
The woman young men should call, “my sister,” [6]
        in other words, the woman they should marry.
In fact, she is most likely the woman who reappears
        to conclude the book of Proverbs –
the one who reminds the young men of all the benefits,
        they would receive from making her their wife [7]
        (and that would make you our father-in-law?).
Now I am laughing, I know you understand,
        and hope others who do not, will forgive me;
but there is no image – father, mother, grandmother,
        that will ever contain all of your character.

So happy mother’s day Lord,
        may we who are your children
give you every reason to smile today,
        to give you pride,
        to represent you well.



1. Moses asks the Lord if he (Moses) conceived or gave birth to Israel, with the rhetorical answer, no. but the Lord did; thus, Moses concludes, the Lord is their mother and should take care of them, and stop laying all their troubles on him (Numbers 11:12).

2. Hosea describes the Lord in rich images of a mother with a baby (Hosea 11:1-4)

3. Proverbs 8:22-26 (this and other texts in Proverbs 1-9 develop a rich literary image of Woman Wisdom, the daughter of God)

4. Proverbs 1:20-23 (and 24-33)

5. Proverbs 3:13-18

6. Proverbs 7:4-5

7. Proverbs 31:10-31

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