Someone asked me this week if Lutherans celebrate the saints. We do…we just have a more expansive list than others. So we celebrate Saint Mark the gospel writer and Saint Martin Luther King the preacher and Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Tamira of King Street. (We believe all of us saints are sinners too…but it just doesn’t seem right to celebrate sinner days. 🙂 )
This Sunday we commemorate the 14th century Christian mystic Julian of Norwich. Poor woman, we don’t know her real name. She’s known as “Julian,” only because she lived a secluded life in a cell next to the Church of St. Julian in Norwich.
Julian is best known for writing Revelations of Divine Love in which she boldly (for our ears) describes God’s love as a motherly love. She asserts that God is both our father and mother and that the clearest way to describe our relationship with Jesus is to compare it to the bond between mother and child.
This year, Saint Julian of Norwich Day is also Mother’s Day. Perhaps as we expand our understanding of the saints, we can expand our understanding of God – God as mothering, wise, merciful, and loving. Here are some words taken from Julian from the hymn “Mothering God” found in our hymnal (ELW 735).
Mothering God, you gave me birth in the bright morning of the world,
Creator, source of ev’ry breath, you are my rain, my wind, my sun.
Mothering Christ, you took my form, offering me your food of light,
grain of life and grape of love, your very body for my peace.
Mothering Spirit nurt’ring one, in arms of patience hold me close,
so that in faith, I root and grow until I flow’r, until I know.