Faith, Hope, and Love
Luke 13:31-35 Some Pharisees came and said to Jesus, "Get away from here, for Herod wants to kill you." He said to them, "Go and tell that fox for me, 'Listen, I am casting out demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work. Yet today, tomorrow, and the next day I must be on my way, because it is impossible for a prophet to be killed outside of Jerusalem.' 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! See, your house is left to you. And I tell you, you will not see me until the time comes when you say, 'Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.'"
“How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” This is Jesus, fully human and fully male, describing himself in a profoundly feminine experience... as a hen gathering her chicks. In order to utter these words I believe Jesus must have had the personal experience of cradling, protecting and nurturing. Jesus must have personally experienced a mother’s piercing desire to heal and cure, care for and protect her children. And no doubt, Jesus was aware of the many times his Jewish ancestors recorded in the Hebrew Testament (Old Testament) feminine images, metaphors and language to describe their experiences of God.
God is described as a protective mother eagle (Dt. 32:10-11), a fierce mother bear (Hosea 13:8), and a mother giving birth (Is. 42:14) and breast-feeding her child (Is. 49:15). God “loves the stranger whom He provides with food and clothing” (Deut. 10:18).Speaking for God the Prophet Isaiah proclaims, “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, .... even when you turn grey I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save.” (Is 46.3-4)
Both Testaments of the Bible are replete with masculine images of God. Lukes passage reminds us that Jesus himself also used a feminine image to describe himself, and in so doing he was also describing the One God, the Father, who sent him. The God of power and might is also kindhearted, gentle and humane.
Judaism and Christianity are both radically monotheistic. We believe in the ONE holy and living God. The One God who assures the divine origin of both male and female. The One God who reveals an inclusive understanding of Divine presence and action that transcends all distinctions, including male and female.