Sophia Wisdom continues to call us to expand our spiritual experience. For centuries religious traditions have limited the great Creator of the universe to a few male names and images, one of the most common being “Father.”
Our Milky Way Galaxy contains more than a hundred billion stars. The Milky Way is only one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the universe. How could we ever limit the Creator of so vast a universe to a few male names and images? How could we have missed the many biblical female divine names and images, including “Mother”? The Bible uses the word picture of God as a loving Mother who not only gives birth to Her children, but also comforts and nurtures them toward their full potential (Isaiah 66:13); and the picture of God as a Mother whose relationship with Her children is so strong that nothing can ever break it (Isaiah 49:15). The picture of God as a tender Father, loving and caring for His children (Psalm 103:13), is just one of the many images of God in the Bible.
As Ann Landaas Smith writes, “God Is Not a Single Parent”:Father God, Creator of us all. How long will we see you as a single parent? Send your loving wisdom to fill our hearts and minds with new words of inclusivity. Open our eyes to see images that nurture and heal our brokenness. Grant us courage and your freedom to try new words that restore balance in all our relationships. And like baby swans being guarded and cared for by both parents, let the wholeness of you be illuminated in us. Mother, Father, Creator of us all. (poem from Women’s Uncommon Prayers, included in She Lives! Sophia Wisdom Works in the World)
This hymn video invites people to expand spirituality and contribute to justice and equality through inclusive metaphors for the Divine. Including multicultural female divine names and images along with male and other gender images in worship contributes to equality and justice in human relationships and right relationship with the earth, while expanding our experience of divinity.
Rev. Larry E. Schultz conducts the Chancel Choir and Orchestra of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina, in “O Mother-Father God” to a familiar hymn tune, with pictures from various artists.
O Mother-Father God, your love surrounds us all; through rustling wind and sparkling glen, we hear your gentle call. With strong and tender care, you nurture us each day; you calm our fears and wipe our tears, and with us always stay. O Mother-Father God, your beauty fills the earth; from morning light to starry night, you bring new life to birth. The fields in rainbow hue are blooming everywhere, while robins sing to welcome spring, and fragrance fills the air. O Mother-Father God, the heavens sing your praise; all earth joins in the glorious hymn; a grateful song we raise. Your grace exceeds all thought, embracing everyone; your kindness flows more than we know, from dawn to setting sun.
Words © Jann Aldredge-Clanton, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians (Eakin Press, 2006). Recording © Jann Aldredge-Clanton & Larry E. Schultz, from Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians CD (Eakin Press, 2007)For permissions, contact Jann Aldredge-Clanton; also, see inclusive music for all ages.
Performed by: Chancel Choir and Orchestra of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, Raleigh, North Carolina. Conductor Rev. Larry E. Schultz
David Clanton: photo of Pullen Memorial Baptist Church Choir and Congregation, © David M. Clanton. Used with permission.
Pam Allen: collage of divine images © Pam Allen. Used with permission.
Hartwig Kopp-Delaney: “His Hand”
Ansgar Holmberg: “Black Madonna and Child” © Ansgar Holmberg. Used with permission
Robert Lentz: “Holy Wisdom” © Robert Lentz. Used with permission
Lucy A. Synk: “Ruach” © Lucy A. Synk. Used with permission.
Shannon Kincaid: “Oprah and Child” ” © Shannon Kincaid. Used with Permission.
Recorded by: Ward Productions, Pinehurst, North Carolina