28 April 2018

Womb of God

In the beginning
was YES.
The Yes of a Mother
to new life inside her,
the Yes of Love
and potential.

In the beginning
was Your Womb,
and I was nurtured,
enveloped by Your love.

In the beginning
was the life you gave me.

Thrust out into the world,
I stumbled,
Cut was the cord
and I foundered,
reaching for You.

I lost sight of You.
I forgot
the warm walls of love
that once surrounded me.
I doubted
your unconditional Yes to me.
I feared sternness;
I ran away,
seeing my shame,
separated, I believed, from You.

But in the end
is Your YES,
a Yes that will never be taken back,
a Mother's enduring, unconditional love,
Your mark on me
that I belong.
In the end
there is no chasm
between You
and me.
Only Your arms
to hold me,
to put me to your breast
and nurse me to strength,
to lead me as I find my feet
and make baby steps
into a world
that you prepared for me.

There is no rejection,
no condemnation,
no separation.
Teach me to see.


[28. April 2018]

So I have been itching to write about God as Mother (a perfectly biblical image btw; if in doubt see here). And about God's uterus because according to the Bible God has a uterus. :-P (John 1:18 bosom = κόλπος = womb) Finally managed...

What flowed into this was thoughts on "original blessing" from this podcast I listened the other day, and the book I am reading ("Original Blessing" by Danielle Shroyer). The idea is that the concept of original sin distorts our view of relationship with God. We see it in terms of separation, and basically make our sin more powerful than God by seeing it as an insurmountable obstacle that even God can't overcome without sacrifice. The idea of sin separating us from God did a lot of havoc in my mind as a child and teenager (because it's in every summary of the gospel / evangelistic presentation). Even with the sacrifice of Jesus, you keep asking yourself: am I really good enough for God? Because at the basis of everything lies God's distaste with sin, and original sin means we are all born sinful (or "totally depraved" depending on which theological corner you're in) and need to be made good enough first. Of course I repeated the "sinner's prayer" a few million times, but I was never confident that it had really "worked", because shouldn't a sign of being "born again" be that I don't sin anymore? But I was still fighting with my sister and doing things I regretted later (and sometimes my "Christian zeal" made me a bigger bitch [sorry not sorry] than I would have been without).

Original blessing is what I have discovered in my baptismal practice (as a pastor): in the beginning, before we are able to respond or understand, God's love is already there. Meaning: the basis is not God's distaste with sin, is not our depravity or evil which needs to be put away first, but pure love. I love baptising children / babies because I believe this is such an important message, in this day and age where young people / teenagers are often insecure about their own value. The message of original blessing is that before everything else stands God's love. That's my understanding of it, at least. :-)

Of course God does not agree with evil - because God loves everybody so if I hurt someone else I'm hurting God, right? But even there: God does not want to destroy the "sinner" or wrongdoer but bring them home.

I recently read the "Revelations of Divine Love" of Julian of Norwich. And what really intrigued me was this concept of sin: that the biggest problem is not the wrong deed itself, but running from God because we are afraid of his reaction to our sin. The solution to sin would be running to God who can comfort and heal and forgive - but too often because we think God is stern and punishing, we flee. For a long time I saw God as angry and punishing and was afraid of making mistakes. It was very freeing to realise that God really and truly is love.

And for that I think the image of womb and birth and mother is fitting. As it says in Jeremiah: "Can a mother forget her child?" God never rejects us. He wants to bring everyone home.

Here's if you want something meditative: [click me!]

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