Sunday, February 24, 2013

God as a Protective Mother

What follows is a cross-post I wrote for Ecumenical Women, an organization of faith-based advocacy groups working to forward gender-equality through the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).  The 57th CSW will be opening on March 4th and lasting for two weeks.

Hi everyone, with only 8 days remaining before the 57th Commission on the Status of Women begins on 4 March at United Nations Headquarters in New York, we at Ecumenical Women will be providing you with daily thoughts, video, quotes and prayers that inspire our work.  Those of you attending churches that use the Revised Common Lectionary this Sunday may have noticed that today’s appointed gospel message, Luke 13: 31 – 35, put forward an immensely powerful feminine image of God:
31At that very hour some Pharisees came and said to him, ‘Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you.’ 32He said to them, ‘Go and tell that fox for me, “Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. 33Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed away from Jerusalem.” 34Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 35See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, “Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.” ’ (NRSV)
In this passage Jesus uses two metaphors, the first of which describes Herod as a fox, as someone cunning and destructive.  The second metaphor helps to clarify the first, as Jesus describes himself as a hen protecting her chicks.  Those sisters and brothers living in more agrarian communities will recognize the dichotomy that Jesus is setting up here:  God is a compassionate, strong mother protecting her children, an image contrasted with Herod who as a fox has set out to kill the young chicks.

While Herod himself is long gone, who do you think are the Herod’s of our own time?  As we prepare to work toward the elimination of all forms of violence against girls and women at CSW, we pray that God works through our advocacy to protect all Her children.
Dustin is currently a vicar at the Lutheran Office for World Community and Saint Peter's Church in Manhattan, having recently completed his second year of a Masters of Divinity program at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia. While seeking ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, his focus is on the intersection between worship, service and justice building in de-centralized faith communities unencumbered by a traditional church building. In his free time, Dustin likes playing frisbee, hiking and pretending to know how to sing.

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