Mother Church and the Body of Christ

Dear siblings in Christ,

Since this Church Anniversary Sunday falls on Mother’s Day, let’s contemplate the metaphor of “Mother Church.”  Mother Church or matrice is a term depicting the Christian

Church as a mother in her functions of nourishing and protecting the believer.  The Church as the Body of Christ can be said to have a maternal function.  How is this true of our faith community at Christ Church Emerging?

Julian of Norwich is well known for extending this maternal metaphor to Jesus himself.  She develops the metaphor of Jesus Christ as Mother.  She never refers to Jesus as female, however, she always refers to Jesus our mother as he.*  Yet in her understanding, Jesus embodies every nurturing quality of motherhood.  Here are a few quotes from her Revelations of Divine Love based on a series of sixteen visions she received on the 8th of May 1373.

“It is a characteristic of God to overcome evil with good. Jesus Christ therefore, who himself overcame evil with good, is our true Mother. We received our ‘Being’ from Him and this is where His Maternity starts, and with it comes the gentle Protection and Guard of Love which will never ceases to surround us.”

“Just as God is our Father, so God is also our Mother.”

“A mother’s service is nearest, readiest and surest. It is nearest because it is most loving. And it is surest because it is most true. This office no one but him alone might or could ever have performed to the full.”

“A mother can hold her child tenderly to her breast, but our tender mother, Jesus, can lead us in friendly fashion into his blessed breast by means of his sweet open side. And there show us something of the godhead and the joys of heaven with a spiritual assurance of endless bliss.”

“A mother can give her child milk to suck, but our precious mother, Jesus, can feed us with himself. He does so most courteously and most tenderly, with the Blessed Sacrament, which is the precious food of true life. With all the sweet sacraments he sustains us most mercifully and graciously.”

We have referred to this church as a spiritual incubator, but perhaps this more personal image, which undoubtedly stretches our comfort zone, is worth contemplating too.


~ Pastor Susan


*This has attracted the notice of the GLBTQ community for her gender fluid spirituality.

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