Finally – a hymn about the feminine divine.
I’m not surprised these lyrics are by the Rev. Dr. Kendyl Gibbons – I love her writing and have used her words often in services, including her wonderful piece on the “love is patient, love is kind” passage from I Corinthians 13, which I use in my Share the Love service.
But I digress. Gibbons offers us an image of the feminine divine that is (gasp!) not just motherhood! Halleluiah! The heavens opened and the angels sang, “it’s about freaking time!”
I say this, because over and over we have “mother God” or “mother spirit” or other paeans to women couched in motherhood. I am grateful for the framing of women and the feminine divine in many aspects – include the aspect of justice seeker.
Lady of the seasons’ laughter, in the summer’s warmth be near;
when the winter follows after, teach our spirits not to fear.
Hold us in your steady mercy, Lady of the turning year.
Sister of the evening starlight, in the falling shadows stay
here among us till the far light of tomorrow’s dawning ray.
Hold us in your steady mercy, Lady of the turning day.
Mother of the generations, in whose love all life is worth
everlasting celebrations, bring our labors safe to birth.
Hold us in your steady mercy, Lady of the turning earth.
Goddess of all times’ progression, stand with us when we engage
hands and hearts to end oppression, writing history’s fairer page.
Hold us in your steady mercy, Lady of the turning age.
This hymn works for me today, especially, when I find myself worn down by men, mansplaining, misogyny, and madness. I don’t want to be told how to feel, how things I know already should be, how I shouldn’t make noises or make waves, or just this constant, pervasive insistence that men are more important. I’m worn down. I’m tired. I’m angry. And thus, Gibbons’ call to the Goddess to “stand with us when we engage hands and hearts to end oppression” is a reminder of all the women throughout history who have made a difference in everyone’s lives – and who continue, daily, to answer the call for justice for all, not just women. (Note to self: this would make a great Women’s History Month sermon.)
Two more things, and then I’ll go, because I’m at my sister’s for the holiday and there’s cranberry sauce to be made:
First, the tune. It’s familiar to me, but not because of singing this particular hymn in our congregations. I am fairly certain we sang it a few times in chapel at Union, but I can’t seem to remember what lyrics we used – certainly they were more Christian ones. I was surprised when I picked it up, realizing that while the hymn was unfamiliar, the tune certainly was.
Second, the format: it’s been bugging me that when this publishes to Facebook and email, you get my opening line, and then the lyrics all in an unformatted box. I love having the lyrics at the top for reference, but I think having my words up top is more important, so I’ll try putting the lyrics in the middle of the page. Let me know what you think – it’s not like I don’t still have over a year to tweak this further…