WISDOM’s womb is full of love and faithfulness, slow to anger and overflowing with faithful love. – Psalm 103:8 (as translated in A Women’s Lectionary for the Whole Church: Year W, p. 295)
This time of year, I think a lot about my dad, who died in early October twenty-five years ago. In some ways, he was a classic father from the Greatest Generation, focused on his work and leaving the domestic arrangements to my mother’s supervision. In others, he was an aberration: he didn’t drive, and he never mowed a lawn. Really, he had an uncomfortable relationship with all motorized equipment. I joked once that he couldn’t focus on driving because he was too busy thinking great thoughts. He saw the world through a thinker’s lens. He was fair, and so smart, and very funny, but not particularly affectionate.
For those of us who grew up with solely masculine language for God, it’s not unusual to project our feelings about or experiences with our dads onto God. Fair and wise with a sense of humor—that sounds pretty good for the divine One, better than angry or judgmental. But something is missing if we know God only as Big Brain, some Wizard of Oz-like projection.
What shifts in us if we name God as Womb-Full of Love? Are we stretched? Relieved? Delighted? These words expand my image of God and help me grow beyond my own gendered stereotypes, just like my dad. Toward the end of his life, he began to express his feelings. It took me by surprise. He never became a hugger, but I remember the ways he kept faith with me. I remember words and actions overflowing with faithful love when I needed them most.
Womb-Full of Love, thank you for keeping faith with us. Amen.
Martha Spong is a UCC pastor, a clergy coach, and editor of The Words of Her Mouth: Psalms for the Struggle, from The Pilgrim Press.