God our Mother

In celebration of Mother’s Day this last Sunday, please listen to the poem, ‘God our Mother’ by Allison Woodward – at this link. It starts just after the 12:00 mark. The written version can be found here.

mother 2.jpg

It’s true, you know.
(You do know it, deep down, don’t you?)
Your first sense of a loving presence
Came before you had any words to frame the gift.
You were knit together in a womb of love,
Fully nurtured by another’s very life.

You were called to life by life,
To love by love,
Which are our best and first response.
So, even deeper than the sense of God as male,
Is the sense of love as female.
And God, you know, is love.

It is not sacrilege.
It is the true echo of God’s imprint on us all.
We are made male and female in their image.
Each of us hold that double imprint
Both masculine and feminine,
Full autonomy, fully given for another.

And so we hold the imprint of divine connection,
That gift expressed in our own gift of self,
The ever-whirling dance of all that is.
Each of us is a unique expression of God’s love,
The chance to give what no one else can give,
Ourselves.

 

[image modified from photo by Irina (Patrascu) Gheorghita per cc 2.0]

defiant joy

irrepressible.jpg

Is it possible
To hold within your heart
A nugget of defiant joy?

It is.

To deeply know
God’s deepest love
For all the deepest parts of you.

To hold to love
Despite the angry shouts
And sadly shaking heads.

To welcome God’s love
So fully, so truly
That it spills out to others.

Even – though they cannot see it,
And don’t know how to receive it,
To those with sadly shaking heads.

That is the miracle of grace.
That we can offer love to one
Who cannot love us in return.

Father, forgive them,
For they do not know
What they are doing.

Let me be a conduit of grace
Let it flow to me and through me
To all creation.

It is. (amazing) It is.

[photo by Michelle Robinson per cc 2.0]

a bigger faith

faith.jpg

I need a faith that is bigger
Than my humble hopes and paltry prayers
A faith big enough to touch the wire cages
That hold the refugees I am afraid to recognize
As my siblings and my friends.

I need a faith big enough to offer hope.

And I need hope that is big enough
To draw me from my couch,
Not in guilt or anger, but in energetic love.
Ready to work within the unfolding,
Sure of the partnership of the One who holds us all.

I need a hope sure enough to evoke joy.

I need a surge of joyful surrender,
Rolling down the grassy slope into your lap.
Knowing that your embrace awaits –
An embrace that does not close around me
But opens me up to more and more.

I need the energy of your bracing love.

I need that breath of life that comes
When the emptiness is filled with You.
When darkness shines
And the hollows hold abundance.
When, at last, I know that love is real and all.

I need to know that faith and hope and love remain.

I need to know, to deeply know,
That you have not turned away from me
Or from this world of your creation;
That you can redeem even these moments of pain,
Within the whole of your infolding love.

[photo by Giampaolo Squarcina per cc 2.0]

God is … ?

light through cloudsA friend recently asked, ‘Who – what – is God, anyway?’ The question rumbled around in my heart for days … and here is one response:

God is the life-force, the love-force, that (who) holds everything together and moves everything toward deeper and deeper relationship – relationship with God and, thus, each other.

Or, working backwards, as we often do, we seek deeper relationship with each other and, through that, a deeper relationship with God, herself. True relationship, true love, always points to and reflects God, for God is love. Thus, even feeble, faltering, messy attempts to love can be steps in the right direction.

We might as well ask, what is the universe? For, as we connect more and more of the dots, we find that they reflect a mysterious unity. This scattered, shattered beauty is being drawn together in love. It blossoms and grows where it can. It repairs and reconciles where that is needed. In the end, love triumphs by loving.

It seems so weak, sometimes, to wait on love, to yield to love, to refuse to use coercion, to leave yourself so vulnerable. In the end, it is the only thing strong enough to hold it all together. And, that is heaven: being held together in love – in God.

 

[photo by Tyler Nienhouse per cc 2.0]

the moonbeam’s box

holding a moonbeam
At the end of the day (or the beginning)
The heart of my faith rests in my heart.
It’s not the creeds or doctrines.
It’s not the smells and bells.
It is the hope (and sometimes realization)
Of the touch of the Holy on my soul.

That hope and promise of relationship,
My hope – our hope together –
Is what has held me firm,
Even as I question and struggle
With the forms and frames that have been dictated to me.
The path is not the destination.

“Spirituality is the moonbeam.
Religion is the box we try to catch it in.”
We need the box,
Else the real is too elusive for beginners.
And we are all beginners, to the end.
But the box is not a substitute for what gives life.

A God who loves me:
That is the source and joy of life.
An invitation to reciprocate that love,
(For love is full only when it is freely returned)
That is the mystery.
That holy circle of grace is all in all.

[The quotation about the moonbeam is from DR. KWEETHAI NEILL, PHD]
[Thanks to Timothy Luke Johnson for the insight that it is the experience of God, not correct doctrine, that is the abiding power of Christianity.]
[photo by Judy van der Velden per cc 2.0]

the exchange

mother and child
There is an image,
An exchange I witnessed,
That has been percolating
In my memory for years.

You’ve probably seen it, too:
A young mother
With her infant bouncing on her lap.
They are enthralled with one another.

What flows between them,
Almost visible as their eyes connect,
Palpable in the air between them,
Is the exchange of life-giving love.

The infant is held by something
So much stronger than her hands.
The mother is upheld
With something just as strong.

Their gifts to one another
Are so tangible
So vital
So real.

Yet each is filled,
Not emptied.
Full of a love that will not be contained.
A rush of life between them.

This is love incarnate.
Love enfleshed; love fulfilled.
This is how life is passed on.
Birth is just the beginning.

Perhaps this shows me why
The Christ came to us.
To look us in the eye
And give us life.

God breathed upon the clay.
Christ looked on us with love.
The Spirit, now within us,
Empowers life’s eternal flow.

It is like breath:
Receiving in; giving out.
Each delightful exchange
Brings life anew.

[image cropped from photo by Robert Moores per cc 2.0]

Listen

like music - trees reflected on a lake leave the impression of sound waves

Lean your ear against the heart of the earth,
Feel its breath upon your cheek,
And listen.

Listen past the noise of the news,
Past the roar of traffic
Even past the thumping of your own heart.

Sometimes, sometimes,
You can catch the whisper of hope
That will not die.

It’s there, you know:
Emergent life,
The pure gift of irrepressible love.

Such love does not demand attention.
Instead, intentional gratitude
Can help to open your heart to its sweet call.

Listen.
It calls you now.
And waits, patiently, upon your turning.

[photo from the blog nature has no boss, posted 9/5/17, by Mike Bizeau, used with permission]