Friday, 20 September 2019

Mothering God

Continuing to share some extracts from my forthcoming book, Dwelling in the Psalms, I'm looking today at Psalm 131.  

The psalms are shot through with powerful imagery, some of it brutal, much of it angry, and some of it beautifully tender, as in this psalm:

Lord, my heart is not proud;
my eyes are not haughty.
I don't concern myself with matters too great
or too awesome for me to grasp.
Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself,
like a weaned child who no longer cries for its 
     mother's milk.
Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.
                                                                                 Ps. 131:1-2 NLT
It’s hard to think of a more peaceful picture than the image of a young child quietly resting in its mother’s arms. In the early days of life, a baby cries loudly and often for its mother’s milk; it regularly needs the nourishment, the comfort and the reassurance that suckling at the breast gives. In time, the baby grows beyond that stage of its development and anxious crying becomes replaced by a calmer contentment. This simple psalm gives a picture of that quiet contentment; an image of a child who feels safe and satisfied, resting in the presence of one in whom they have absolute trust. They are secure in the arms of one who only has their best interests at heart. It’s a beautiful illustration of the peace and confidence that God wants each of us, his children, to have in him. As Mother Julian famously said, ‘All will be well, and all manner of things shall be well’.
Mothering God,
thank you
for your tender care;
thank you
that in your presence
I am always and forever

Teach me 
each day
to live as your child,
to rest in your arms
and to let you
hold me through life.

And should I be afraid,
quieten my soul.