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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Thursday, July 4, 2019              

Today’s Scripture Reading | Isaiah 66:10–14

Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
   all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
   all you who mourn over her—
that you may nurse and be satisfied
   from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
   from her glorious bosom.

For thus says the Lord:
I will extend prosperity to her like a river,
   and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm,
   and dandled on her knees.
As a mother comforts her child,
   so I will comfort you;
   you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
   your bodies shall flourish like the grass;
and it shall be known that the hand of the Lord is with his servants,
   and his indignation is against his enemies. (NRSV)

“Rejoice with Jerusalem and be glad for her, all you who love her,” be comforted at her breasts, like a child with their mother. This image brings to mind Mother Mary, Mother Earth, Jerusalem as the cradle of life. But what if this is not your image of your mother?

Everyone has a mother. That relationship with said mother differs in the amount of comfort and protection one may feel, just like how one may feel about the care and support one would feel from their homeland. A famous Dominican poet, Salomé Ureña, said, “¿Patría? ¿Sabes lo que preguntas, amor?/ Homeland? Do you know what it is you are asking, my love?” Does Isaiah know what he is asking, what he is telling us Jerusalem should be to us, how it will be to us?

What does it mean to have the kingdom of God cradle us, nurse us, protect us, fight for us, comfort us in the ways we wished we could have had from our own mothers but could not have because mothers are humans too?

Personally, I have felt more of a mother to my mother at times, being the daughter of an immigrant who chose to live in the city of Chicago that is the opposite of everything Taiwan is—cold, distant, tough, segregated, alone. She raised me to be everything she is not, precisely to navigate this city, this American life. Consequently, we are so different and she said to me upon my college graduation, “If you can stand alone you can stand anywhere.” But lately she has changed what she said; no one is ever alone, because God is with you. And she’s right, Jerusalem will stand with you. Your mother will stand with you.

Dear Mother Lord, may your kingdom come and show me your ever-abundant motherly love for me and for all your people, because the kingdom of God is lived through hearts full of your grace. Cradle us all and remind us that we all have mothers, that we all mother the world and God’s people. Remind us of mother love, of love. Amen.

Written by Jessica Wang, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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