Waranga Uniting Churches

Mother hen God

By on May 11, 2019

Mother henCulturally, Mother’s Day has always been a bigger event than Father’s Day ever will be. Politics aside, when the Sydney Daily Telegraph ran a story attacking the memory of Bill Shorten’s mother, it unleashed a powerful backlash from many quarters. We don’t like people attacking our mothers or our memories of them. None of our mothers are perfect but we all have a powerful story of sacrifice, service and love that is associated with our mothers. There are many of the qualities that we ascribe to God are better understood in relationship to a loving mother rather than a loving father. We do well to honour mothers.

We are familiar with the masculine imagery used to talk about God.  “Our Father, who art in heaven.”  We’re not so used to hearing feminine images when thinking about God.  In fact, some people get quite angry if you dare to use a female pronoun to refer to God. But let’s be clear: God is not a man. Nor is God a woman. God is God. We search for metaphors to describe and conceptualise God. We look to human institutions of family, government and society to give shape to a nebulous reality. And so we are familiar with words like king, warrior, counsellor, shepherd, and father. But they are just metaphors and not the reality of God, who is much greater and more unknowable than can be contained by such word pictures.

Christians believe that it is in Jesus that we see most clearly what God is like. How striking it is to see Jesus to liken himself to a mother hen: “How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings” Matthew 23:37

We have hens running around the yard at our farm but we don’t have a rooster so I don’t get to see a hen with its chicks except when I visit my neighbour Mahammad who often has a hen with chicks. As we share a coffee on his verandah it is delightful to watch the chicks venture out, pecking and scratching around the yard, only to run to their mother at the first signs of danger. She literally does “gather her brood under her wings”. Mother hen offers protection and defence when needed, and keeps a watchful eye on them as they grow and explore.

When you are vulnerable and in need of protection a Mother hen God is a lovely image to draw nourishment from. Caring, welcoming, warm and protective. God as Mother. God mothering all of us. Mother God protecting us from harm and keeping us under her wing in times of sorrow and trouble, and as we grow and  become compassionate and loving people. These are qualities I would like in the God I worship.

Jesus, like a Mother hen, gathered in the outcast, the sick, the downtrodden, the foreigner, and the sinners and stood between them and the oppressive foxes of religious and secular power.

This is the gospel and it’s good news.

Brian Spencer, Minister


From the Prairie to the Outback – Turaton Concert

By on May 20, 2019

TURATON MUSIC COMPANY PRESENTS A performance of country theme music by the choir and featured soloists. Enjoy songs you will remember, like… Black Hills of Dakota, Secret love, Oklahoma, Waltzing Matilda, Take Me Home Country Roads, King of The Road

Prodigal God

By on May 5, 2019

  The love and pain of family relationships mostly happens out of public sight. It’s mostly a private affair, the intimacies and intricacies only known to the closest family and sometimes only to the parent. The aching love of a

An eye for an eye and everyone is blind

By on April 28, 2019

The church bombings on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka were reportedly in retaliation for the Mosque shooting in New Zealand last month. Where does it end? You disrespect me and I will disrespect you. You beat up one of my

Picking Winners

By on April 4, 2019

For the first time in many years, I am in a footy tipping competition. My grandson decided it would be a good family bonding activity. When I ran an office we had a competition among the staff and it was

Parish Service 31st March – Guest Speaker Rev Tony Davies

By on March 27, 2019

Tony Davies is the Presbytery Minister for Pastoral Care and Mission will be the guest speaker at the Parish Service to be held at Colbinabbin Uniting Church at 9.30am. Tony commenced full time in this role with the Presbytery in

A murder in my heart

By on February 20, 2019

From early morning and periodically throughout the day a murder of crows descend loud and large into the vineyard. Their boisterous cawing can be heard from a few hundred metres away. People often tell me that “I’m living the dream”,

Sunny Side Up

By on February 15, 2019

At the Australia Day celebration I attended the SES was cooking breakfast and the BBQ plate was filled from edge to edge with dozens of eggs – all sunny side up. These were for the people who had come out

Saving the best till last

By on January 25, 2019

It’s a story that has become part of the collective consciousness, even for those who have never attended church and it has placed a couple of phrases into the language which are still very widely used. Whenever we say someone

A sure foundation

By on January 18, 2019

I’ve often used phrases like “You’ve got to build from a firm base” or “You need firm foundations”, but when I’ve used such phrases they have been as metaphors. Usually I’ve been referring to the need for a good education