Lent, Day 25

It is clear from the New Testament that Jesus used male images and metaphors for God. He Presented God as a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, as a shepherd looking for his lost sheep, as a farmer sowing seed, as a father giving commands to his sons.

But Jesus also presented God in feminine images and metaphors. He insisted that a person must be born anew in order to enter the reign of God. Nicodemus, with whom Jesus used this metaphor, understood it to be feminine because he asked how once could enter a second time into the maternal womb. When Jesus clarified the source of the new life, water and the Holy Spirit, he did not change the metaphor but repeated that one must indeed be born again. He even amplified the feminine image by explaining that what is born of flesh is flesh, i.e., what is born of woman is human, whereas what is born of the Spirit is divine. The divine mother of whom believers are born is the one God who is Spirit. Unfortunately, the theological tradition which has controlled the reading of Scripture has insisted on its own male understanding of God to the extent that it has virtually obliterated from the religious imagination this clearly feminine presentation of God the Spirit as mother.

-Women and the Word, Sandra M. Schneiders

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