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God is not always what you expect.

MUSIC NOTES Sunday May 10

Creator, source of every breath, you are my rain, my wind, my sun.” ELW #736

“God is NOT MY mother!” I can still see her red, angry face, steam coming out of both ears. I swallowed hard and suppressed a snarky comment. We were singing “Mothering God, You Gave me Birth” at another church, and a congregant was having a hard time with it. “This song is not about God’s gender,” I said softly. “It’s about characteristics of God that we often associate with mothers – giving birth, nurturing, feeding, loving unconditionally, gentleness, patience, etc. The song is actually Trinitarian: Verse 1 is about God, verse 2 about the Christ, verse 3 about the Holy Spirit.” That seemed to calm her down, but I’m not sure she ever warmed up to this song.

I love this story! Not so much in the moment, but with 20/20 hindsight, and because in the words of Karen Walker, “It’s funny because it’s true.” It reminds me that jumping to conclusions is lousy exercise. Seriously though, I like this song because we have so many “Father God” hymns, that recalling God’s mothering characteristics broadens my understanding of love, of who and what God is, and what and who God calls me to be.

I can hear Sara Doerfler, Cindy Steinert or Claudette Weber playing the flute part. I don’t know who the choir is, but the arranger is a friend and colleague of mine from 20 years ago.

If Crown of Glory didn’t already know this hymn, Chancel Choir would sing this setting to help us learn it. However, we do, and we sing it really well! My experience tells me that God uses music and poetry to broaden my understanding of the world. How does she broaden your understanding of the world?


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