In the NIV translation of the Bible, Psalm 68:5 is rendered
“A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”Psalm 68:5
And it is these words that inspired Graham Kendrick to write his worship song “Father Me (O father of the fatherless)”.
Well if God may be described as “Father to the Fatherless”, then why not also “Mother to the Motherless”?
In this time when women are very much in our minds: International Women’s Day last week, the murder of Sarah Everard and the vigils and calls for action that have followed, a study of Scripture reveals the many ways in which God is described as like a Woman or a Mother.
Here are a selection of examples to reflect on as we all consider the implications of the events of the last week or two:
Women and men are both created in the image of God
“Humankind was created as God’s reflection: in the divine image God created them; female and male, God made them.”Genesis 1:27
God is described as a Mother eagle
“Like the eagle that stirs up its nest, and hovers over its young, God spreads wings to catch you, and carries you on pinions.”Deuteronomy 32:11-12
It’s God who gives birth
“You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you; you forgot the God who gave you birth.”Deuteronomy 32:18
God is described as a Mother
“Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I who took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them.”Hosea 11:3-4
God is described as a Mother bear
“Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and tear them asunder…”Hosea 13:8
God is as a Woman in labour
“For a long time I have held my peace, I have kept myself still and restrained myself; now I will cry out like a woman in labour, I will gasp and pant.”Isaiah 42:14
God is compared to a nursing Mother
“Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.”Isaiah 49:15
God’s described as a comforting Mother
“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”Isaiah 66:13
God likened to a Woman
“As the eyes of a servant looks to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to you, YHWH, until you show us your mercy!”Psalm 123:2-3
God is described as a Mother
“But I’ve calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.”Psalm 131:2
Jesus likens God to a Mother hen
“Jerusalem, 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!”Matthew 23:37 & Luke 13:34
Jesus likens God to a Woman who’s lost a coin
“Or what woman having ten silver coins, is she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours saying, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.’ ”Luke 15:8-10
A huge thank you to all those who lovingly prepared the Mothering Sunday posies (pictured above), those who kindly supplied the flowers and greenery and those who have given their time to distribute and are continuing to distribute them far and wide – it is much appreciated by everyone.