View print-optimized version

Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Wednesday, December 18, 2019  

Today’s Scripture Reading | Psalm 89:1–4

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever;
   with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.
I declare that your steadfast love is established forever;
   your faithfulness is as firm as the heavens.

You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one,
   I have sworn to my servant David:
‘I will establish your descendants forever,
   and build your throne for all generations.’”(NRSV)

I’m not sure what words to use for God’s gender these days. To be modern, I could rant against male-centric words like “Lord,” or mind my manners and quietly substitute the more gender-neutral (or is it gender-inclusive?) “God.” I want to do that just as I want to think of God as non-binary, neither male nor female.

But I’m wired to visualize. Just as I see the streets of Edinburgh when reading Ian Rankin mystery novels, I see God as a man when reading the Bible. Oh sure, sometimes she/he/it is the V-formation of migrating sandhill cranes or the yellow leaves of the honey locust fluttering down in front of me when I walk the dog. Sometimes I even smell her/him/them in the spring around the outside of the church (what are those fragrant shrubs called?). Those delicate representations are indeed gender-neutral.

The Bible rarely shows us these versions of God though. We visualize men—Jehovah, David, the king on his throne, the Father, the Lord. God the man made a covenant with David the man. David’s seed, not his eggs will rule as kings, not queens, from generation to generation. The subtler Biblical images of God as a mother caring for her children undergird our faith that God will always be, always live and always love.

I like that. That male-female God who loves me deeper than I can visualize, who enfolds me at the still point, who sees me as perfect and lets me be. That is the God whose help I seek, whose direction I want, whose words I hear. That is the God I sing about.

In another world, we will know God as intersex, non-binary, genderqueer, agender, gender fluid, androgynous, bigender, multigender or demigender. In this world, we await David’s seed to change the God-man language to align with our gender neutral spirit.

God, my love, help me be as open and wide to your love as I can, at each moment. Open my mind to know what you’ve put in the path for me to do. Give me gentle words to declare your love is more than I think, feel, see. Amen.

Written by Regan Burke, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

Devotion index by date | Id like to receive daily devotions by email