A woman who grew up in a painfully patriarchal Christian sect, told me she was uninterested in attending a Mother’s Day church service that simply gave roses to moms. She’s been trying to understand her place as a woman in a faith that seems to be all about men…subjugating women. Starting with God as Father.
We know all about our Father. Why is there no mention of our Mother in scripture? Scholars have speculated that ancient Hebrews prohibited all rituals of the polytheistic nature religions encircling them to keep Israel focused on this life and their one God. Hebrews were forbidden to communicate with the dead, embalm, mummify, or even touch a corpse. They prohibited the worship of any physical image of God including nature as goddess—mother earth. But if these intentions and their own patriarchal culture kept explicit mention of our Mother out of scripture, the essential balance of father and mother in God is as clear as we’re willing to see.
Hochkmah, God’s wisdom, is personified as female in the book of Proverbs, and the Hebrew words for spirit and kingdom, ruach and malkutha, are both feminine, meaning we could literally refer to God’s spirit as she and kingdom as queendom. Scripture often portrays God as female: in childbirth, nursing or comforting her child, a protective mother bear or bird covering chicks with her wings. In Hosea, God takes her people in her arms, picks them up and holds them to her cheek, feeds them and cares for them with affection. In the gospels, Jesus always leads with touch, connection, affection before teaching and instruction, showing us it’s only when we have experienced the compassion of our Mother in our day to day lives that we can begin to understand the love of our Father at all.
God is a perfect God only when justice and mercy, knowledge and wisdom, discipline and relationship, male and female, mother and father are equally honored and present. Without God’s matriarchy balancing us, anything we do, male or female, becomes just another patriarchy.
Only our Mother guards our Father from the subjugation of others.