I’m here, you’re not alone. Shhhh, now, I’m here. And with those words, I lift a crying baby up and out of her darkness. She’s unaware of where she fits in her life, perhaps, but I know just where she is. I’m never far from her, even though to her new mind I’ve disappeared every time I’m not in her line of sight, but that’s not true.
And so when she wakes up or when she’s lonely or when she’s hungry or just wants someone to hold her, to calm her heart, she cries out and I come to her and I lift her up into my arms, shhhh, I’m here, you’re not alone, I’m here, I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I say.
Oh, I’m teaching her something: I’m teaching her that I will always come for her. I’m teaching her that she is safe and secure. I’m teaching her that I am reliable, that she is believed, that I don’t believe she’s manipulating me or bossing me. I’m teaching my child that I am here and she is not alone. Dry your tears, small girl, I’m here, I’m always here. I will always come for you.
I’ve heard that most of our theology is autobiography. I think that’s true. I think we often project what we learned about authority or our parents, in particular, onto God. And then we often parent our children in the way that we believe God is parenting us. So if we believe God is a terrible judge with exacting standards and a trapdoor to hell, then that changes how we move through our lives, how we judge others, particularly our children. And yes, I think that damages people.
But what if we see God through the metaphor of a mother with a newborn babe? what do we see instead? After all, the metaphors for God’s love are diverse throughout Scripture but I’m often reminded in these tender days just after giving birth and caring for a newborn that I’m part of that metaphor, too, with my labour and my pain, with my ferocious protectiveness and my consuming love.
My entire body yearns for my child, watch us in these early days how we curl into each other, how I protect her, nourish her, comfort her, even how I delight in her – you’re seeing a glimpse of something divine here, I believe. Isn’t this one of the great gifts God has given us? A glimpse into how God loves us, a share of the joy, a sign and a foretaste of the Kingdom among us already. God in his goodness, sharing with us what it means to love so selflessly, so unconditionally, so completely.
In the Scriptures, there is one little thing often overlooked on Good Friday. In Matthew 27:51, we are told that at the moment when Jesus cried out and gave up his spirit, the moment he died, the veil in the temple that symbolically stood between God and man, the entrance to the Holy of Holies, was torn in two…from the top to the bottom.
There is no barrier between us anymore, the Holy of Holies is open to us all and it’s not because of anything we did or didn’t do. Because this was a rescue, this was redemption, this was the death that made death die, this was the moment when all of creation was redeemed as Jesus swept into the domain of death and hell, suffering and sickness, sin and horror, to cure us and then rise again victorious, Christus Victor.
And when I think of that veil being torn from the top to the bottom, now I imagine God sweeping into the world, like a mother to her crying child in the darkness with that physical yearning, gathering us up out of our loneliness and our hunger, our longing and our needs to whisper: I’m here, I’m here, you’re not alone, I’m here. I’ve got you, I’ve got you, I’ve got you, darling, I’m here.
photo by sharalee prang photography