This past Tuesday was the feast day of the great English mystic Julian of Norwich (1342-1416). Most likely the first woman author published in England (1393), there is much to say about her, but I will limit myself to one of her texts, which has been adapted for singing and set to music by several contemporary hymn composers. Its feminine images of God make some people uncomfortable, but “mothering” is merely a descriptive term, one that connotes the ability to create and nurture. It is language which simply seeks to expand our understanding of God, and perhaps these words might embellish the appreciation we have for our own mothers this coming Sunday.
Mothering God, you gave me birth in the bright morning of this world.
Creator, source of ev’ry breath, you are my rain, my wind, my sun.
Mothering Christ, you took my form, offering me your food of light,
grain of life, and grape of love, your very body for my peace.
Mothering Spirit, nurturing one, in arms of patience hold me close,
so that in faith I root and grow until I flower, until I know.
My title of Mothering Sunday refers actually to a name used in England for the fourth Sunday of Lent, when people returned to their “Mother” or home church. If for some reason – estrangement, death, distance – you are not able to be with your mother this Sunday, I hope you will allow yourself to be embraced by our mothering God wherever you worship.