Okay a very late message for Mothering Sunday as it is almost a week late!
Yet I was think about the whole image of motherhood, birth, nurture, dependants and independence. Yet, in the west we see birth as a one off event happening infrequently, yet in other cultures or in the world of nature, birthing is a regular occurrence with large tribes being established.
I was thinking that when Church is refereed to as Mother or Bride, there is something of the fertility image here, the idea of birth and the giving of new life is perhaps why female imagery is used her.
Church is meant to reproduce, in a ‘be fruitful and multiply kind of a way’ Church is not meant to just birth enough to survive as an institution, but rather the thrive, new life and new birth.
Can a Church which produces no fruit, no new birth, really be called a Church?
I was also thinking, if people want to have kids, they often need to be intentional about it, stopping habits that reduce the chance of pregnancy, being in tune with the rhythms and timing of the woman’s body, and also doing the infamous “IT”.
I remember seeing a comedy and one of the characters asked the potential mother, whether she was eating healthily, stopped smoking and drinking, (she was and she had) and then asked if she was having sex regularly, she replied “I can’t do everything”!
-I wondered about how many things in our Churches reduce the likelihood of new-life and new birth?
I wonder whether we are in or out of tune with what is going on in the fertile ground of our community?
I wonder too whether we actually do the infamous “IT” (actually talking about Jesus).
I wonder if wanting to see people become Christians without mentioning Jesus is a bit like wanting a baby without having sex!
Often Churches feel like their ‘birthing days are behind them’ but scripture is full of mothers giving birth in their older age, Sara, Hannah and Elizabeth for example. Even old and seeming with pruning can yeld a new crop.
Sometimes too, we as Church have unexpected births, somehow our often massively inadequate schemes and plans, somehow sees people come to faith, often leaving us some what surprised. Remember the potency of what we have in Christ Jesus.
So, the call to Mother Church is to be a fertile group of people, to see new life and new birth happen…
Interestingly too, as we think of the images of birth and pregnancy, we often see the gestation period, conception, where the seed takes root, and the long slow journey before birth. Makes me ask, to we protect and nurture those who are in the journey of re–birth?
Also, thinking too of birth and pregnancy, both are messy and at times uncomfortable, but is part of the normal process of bringing in new life, yet too often we do not fully understand that mission and discipleship is messy and costly.
So, let’s embrace the idea of Mother Church, with a commitment to seeing the birth of many healthy new babies, as the Kingdom of God is birthed across our community, across this nation and the world.