Sunday, 27 March 2011

Mums & Church

This is apt to be a Sunday blog piece as the title of Ch 2 is 'The Church Our Mother'. 

The gist of this chapter is that husbands and Fathers have a masculine paradigm to follow (Eph 3:14-15; Eph 5:25). Wives have a feminine one (Eph 5:24). When taken with Rev 21:2 and Rev 21:9 it is clear that the Church is the model! And this bridal model is also maternal when Gal 4:21-27 is taken into account:
Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22 For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23 His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise. 24 These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25 Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. 27 For it is written: "Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labour pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband." Galatians 4:21-27
And this cashes out like this:  

1. All the Church’s responsibilities are commanded by God, and the Church is to submit joyfully to Christ; in the same way, a mother’s duties are laid out in Scripture and are delegated to her by her husband. 
When a wife lurches off to what she thinks is her responsibility without her husband’s blessing and delegation, she is out of bounds and unprotected. (p16)
2. The Church is responsible to teach and build up. This is an obvious duty of mothers.
We are not responsible to teach the neighbor’s kids; we are responsible for our own, and that means all of them. We cannot let any ‘slip through the craks’ because they came when our hands were full. (p17)
3. The Church is responsible to feed and nourish the flock.
A mother must see that her children know that they are loved, for they must be nourished by mother’s love. ... A newborn is fed at the mother’s breast and this is a lovely picture of how the Church is to feed us. The milk a baby receives at the breast is not only nourishing physically, it is emotionally nourishing. (p17)
4. The Church disciplines and corrects its own. In fact, discipline is a sign of a family connection (Hebrews 12:6-8). Mothers are responsible to discipline and correct their children.
Correction must be judicial, kind, and loving, even when it is painful, and it must be done promptly and consistently. This is an enormous task, but when it is faithfully carried out, the children are healthy and happy. (p18)
5. Finally the Church is fruitful. So should Mums.  
While evangelism brings more worshippers into the Church, childbearing brings more disciples into the home. 
A mother should be fruitful like the vine in Psalm 128. Children are not to be viewed as a hindrance, an intrusion, an interruption, or a burden. Fruit is not viewed in such a way. Of course fruit requires tending and tending can be hard work. But it is good work.
Women today embrace barrenness as freedom, and yet barrenness is always a curse in Scripture. But fruitfulness includes more than just childbearing; it is descriptive of a lifestyle (2 Peter 1:8). (p19)
But Nancy Wilson wisely helps us ... because this either seems alien to us in it's entirety or emotionally distant at best because of the fact that we live in a time when (generally): 
the Church has abandoned its duties and roles, it may be difficult for us to see our duties as mothers as they are pictured for us in the Church. (p15)
So, today of all days this is food for thought & prayer & hard work & hope in God! 

Praise Her in the Gates

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