On the way to Mother’s Day lunch with my mum and grandma, we passed a Catholic Church. It had a sign outside wishing all the mothers a Happy Mother’s Day. Which was lovely.
Then it said this:
“God couldn’t be everywhere, that’s why he made mothers.”
And then I died a little inside.
Because really? Really?
You’re a Catholic Church, a Christian Church, and you thought denying the omnipresence of God on a high street billboard was a good idea?
You thought, hey, you know what would be the best Mother’s Day present? Deconstructing the millenia-old classical attributes of God. Omniscience? Bah! Omnipotence? Puhlease! No self-respecting person could believe such codswallop! It’s nothing but metaphysical tyranny, trapping us into an antiquated notion of “space”… So let’s just casually deny the fact that God is everywhere.
Alas, I don’t think this local Catholic parish was trying to deny the omnipresence of God. More likely than not, they just wanted a nice “feel-good” sentiment for all the mums out there, and no one noticed that they were throwing God under the bus in the process.
But how could no one notice that? I can only think it is because we have gotten so used to not thinking about God, or only thinking about Him in the most dim-witted and folksy way possible. We have gotten so used to the poor teaching, the dreadful theology, and the secular platitudes masquerading as “truth” that it just seemed normal.
In a weird way, it would have been better if they were trying to make some massive philosophical point about the nature of God… at least then they would have been thinking about God as God. He who is utterly transcendent, simple, omnipotent, immutable and ineffable. He who doesn’t exist as such, but is Existence Itself. He who is closer to me than I am to myself… And not just God as My Best Friend In The Sky Who Needs My Help With A Few Things.
Because of course, the irony is that God created mothers not because He couldn’t be everywhere but because He is everywhere. But He also knows that we humans aren’t very good at understanding that. He knows that we can’t grasp infinitude. So He made mothers so we could have a picture – an image – of how close, and attentive, and warm, and loving He really is.
For a child, mum is everything. And she always seems to be everywhere. You know how mothers know and see everything? How they have eyes in the back of their heads? That’s omnipresence. And how the instance anything is wrong, we go to them and they are always there to help us? That’s omnipresence. Or how when they give you a hug, it’s the bestest and safest place to be, and it scares all the monsters away? That’s omnipresence.
That’s what God is like: all loving, all present. After all, we live in our mothers for nine months, but in God, “we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)
Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
– Psalm 139:7-10, 13-14
That’s why God made mothers – so that when we look at them, always loving and always there, we will understand a little more, the omnipresence of the One Who Is Love.
Sure, it’s not quite as catchy and obviously saccharine as the quote above.
But hey, at least it’s not heresy.
Wishing all the mothers a blessed, joyful, fun-filled and heresy-free Mother’s Day!