God as a Jewish Mother

Howdy folks!

It’s been a while. I know. But my life has been busy and strange lately, and so writing has sort of fallen to the wayside. But I’ve managed to create this little bit about communion (imagine that. yes, I know I’ve written on it already but i JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH). Enjoy!

I believed in God from a young age. It just made sense to me; of course there was a loving God who created the world! I credit much of my spiritual formation to my very early years spent in the Episcopal Church. Although I was (and am) a child incredibly prone to daydreams, I somehow absorbed the liturgy into my soul, even when I was searching for fairies in the rafters (seriously. The church I went to had these tiny lights way up in the exposed beams of the ceiling, and I was 1000% convinced they were faeries). An Episcopal service involves all the senses: taste, smell, touch, sound, sight. I think this is how it managed to seep into my soul; children need all five senses to be stimulated to learn and grow. I started participating in communion from a young age (bonus: Episcopalians use REAL wine so I became somewhat of a sommelier at age six), and though I might not have been able to tell you the theological significance behind the bread and wine, my spirit and mind hushed at the holy, imminent presence of God I encountered while partaking in the elements.

I’ve been confronted recently with the repeated imagery of bread and wine in the scripture. Ann Lammot talks about how God meets Elijah in the wilderness as a Jewish Mother “Eat something, you’re tired”. And Jesus, he talks about being the bread of life, and sanctifies the most of foods to be the food of new and unending life. And when he rises from the dead, he cooks for his friends. I joke a lot about how I pride myself on knowing how to keep things alive, and I think God brags to Himself about how well he knows how to sustain life (side note: can all my nursing people just geek out with me and IMAGINE how awesome God would be at teaching A&P or pathophys? “Ah, yes, the purjenke fibers. I made those. This is how they work”) And that’s what is so beautiful about God as the Jewish Mom- she’s so concerned about caring for us, making sure we have a good meal in our bellies, she makes the emblems of our faith the very sustenance of life. In a faith where our main man took off for heaven about 2000 years ago and left us with His living spirit and no physical body, there is a promise in the bread. Take, eat. Hold this wafer in your hand for a minute, taste the sweetness in your mouth. Hear the words read over you. See your brothers and sisters around you. Breathe deep the scent of wine, crushed grape and crushed body. And for just two minutes, I have a tangible hold on God.

 All of this to say, I’ve returned to the doors of my Mother Church. I go to an 8 am service at a small Episcopal Church up the hill where I am the youngest person by 40 years. And for one hour a week, my soul is anchored in the mystery of my faith again- Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again. The words embedded in the fabric of my soul from age five, and they near move me to tears now. Evangelicalism has shaped me in countless beautiful and necessary ways, but I have so missed the rhythms of liturgy and lectionary. Also, I’m so sorry to those whose favorite bit of worship service is singing. Us 8 am people, we know we all sound like hungover frogs that early. No one is quite awake yet, so we do each other the courtesy of refraining from song. I do my best worshipful singing in the car on my way to work anyhow (Also- I can swagger about my departure from Evangelicalism all I want but Bethel’s new album is fabulous and you should tots treat yo soul to a copy).

Later Days,

Jess

PS: You know I can never make a post without a video, so here’s one that made me laugh pretty hard this week:

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One thought on “God as a Jewish Mother

  1. So happy to read your written words again. And so proud that you have found your need to return to the church that can feed your needs. I love and am always in awe of you.
    PS – that video hurts my cheeks from laughing so hard!
    Xoxo

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