Reflection Masthead
Issue 152 - Motherhood - May 2017

Be inspired by thoughts of Motherhood
Who influenced you? 
"I did get from my mother this sense of an incredibly royal inheritance that you come from a place which you must live up to and you come from an inheritance which you must live up to." 
--David Whyte in video below
Gifts that Keep on Giving  
       There is a Dracaena Marginata ('Dragon Plant') in our living room. It was given to me on Mother's Day, 1971, by my mother, Ruby, several days after and our son, Wade was born May 4, 1971. This Dracena has outlived my mother by 37 years and even outlived Wade by 18 years. Yet this 46-year old plant is the gift that keeps on giving.
       I know someone who also gave a heroic gift that keeps on giving, more importantly, making a life for a young girl who would otherwise have little opportunity. My friend, Holly,* met a family in Pakistan, slogged through the legal red tape to bring them to America, sponsored the family, and took the daughter as her own. She coached Nita in the many languages Holly speaks, and provided tutors in every academic field to prepare Nita to excel. Completing her university degree this weekend, Nita will go on to study to be a doctor. We cannot even imagine what or where Nita would be today if Holly had not reached out to her. Holly had no children of her own but in her compassion and caring, opened the door of opportunity for another child.             
       I was touched last year when Holly sent me a Mother's Day greeting, "On Mother's Day, remembering you and the child you lost." Sometimes compassion and caring are heroic, sometimes very simple. Yet all are gifts that keep on giving.
       *True story, fictitious names.                    
                           --by Jan

The Mother of God
In the Eastern Orthodox traditions, the most common way to refer to Jesus' mother is not the Virgin Mary, or the Madonna. In the Eastern Traditions, Mary is called Theotokos, literally the "God-bearer" (from the Greek theos "God" + tikto "to bear" or "to bring forth").  The usual English rendering of the term is "The Mother of God."
A brief explanation of the history and theology behind the term can be found in a video by Frederica Mathewes-Green. More to our point, however, is an 8 th -century quotation from John of Damascus: "It is rightly and truly that we call holy Mary the Mother of God, for this name expresses the entire mystery of the incarnation.... In this, the Mother of God ... made it possible for the Fashioner to be fashioned, and for the God and Creator of the universe to become [human] and deify human nature." 
Theotokos of Vladimir
Did you catch the hint in that last phrase? As Mathewes-Green points out, calling Mary the Mother of God has more to do with what we think of Jesus than what we think of Mary. But John of Damascus also suggests it has something to do with what we think about ourselves - "to deify human nature."
At Christmas, we sing
O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray.
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born to us today.
"Be born in us today." Is it possible that you and I can, at least in some limited sense, be a  Theotokos , one who brings God forth into the world? Something to think about this Mothers' Day.
                                           - Bill

Happy Mother's Day to all mothers
and anyone who ever had a mother. 

Portrait of David Whyte, Interview in Estes Park, Colorado in 2013

David Whyte reflects on Thoughts of Mothers and Childhood Memories

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Bill Howden and Jan Davis
Soul Windows Ministries



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