A young boy, after hearing God referred to as a girl, argued “God is not a girl. God is a boy.”
A young girl argued the same.
A woman cried while hearing a sermon on the lost significance of Mary Magdalene in Church history.
A scholar shared her emotional experience of seeing the Black Madonna for the first time and proclaimed, “I am sacred.”
A man, with a difficult relationship with his earthly mother, shared that a sermon on “Mother God” was a comforting and healing Word for him.
God is no gender. God is all genders. God transcends gender. All our names for God, and all our images for God, and all our descriptions never adequately capture who God is. God is Mystery. God is Other. But God also desires to be known by us. And if we are each created in the image of God, to know God is also to come to know ourselves and to know others.
So we keep finding the words. We keep searching for images and metaphors: Father, Mother, Refuge, Shelter, Fire, Rock, Wind…. We seek God and we seek the words to describe what we are seeking! As these brief stories show, it is important to keep expanding our vocabulary, our pictures and our stories. It is important to deepen our understanding and widen our gaze. It is important to recover what we may have lost and gain what we never knew we needed. For us and for our children.
For this reason, we will be venturing into something new at Lutheran Church of Hope. Dr. Wil Gafney – a Hebrew biblical scholar, Episcopal priest, former Army chaplain and pastor in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church – has translated and compiled a new lectionary, “A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church.” A lectionary appoints Scripture to be read for each Sunday of the year. We most often use the Revised Common Lectionary. In the past, LCOH has also used the Narrative Lectionary. A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church seeks to share more stories of women in the Bible than previous lectionaries, uncover and center feminine language in translations, and listen to Scripture in a new way.
I am so very excited to enter this journey of Scripture with you! And I am really thrilled to be preaching from these texts. We will begin at the start of the Church Year – Advent on Sunday, November 27th. If you would like to know more about Dr. Wil Gafney’s work in creating this lectionary, we will be discussing and learning about it on Wednesday nights, Nov 2 - 16, at 6:30pm. Just a month away!
To get our juices flowing now, consider for yourself: What are images that resonate with you? What are words or names that you use to describe God? What have been the stories that have been important to your understanding of who God is and who you are?
I’d love to hear about them!