Happy Ocean Mother Day
“Look, I brought my mother to church today,” I said a year ago on Mother’s Day at Skyland Community Church UCC as I held up this beautiful blue bowl that Anne Swallow Gillis gave me long ago, filled with saltwater and seashells.
Being a Blue Ocean preacher I could not resist linking Mother’s Day with the ocean. The rich dark sea is mother of us all – she birthed all life billions of years ago and continues to ferment and foment new life. And every human mammal spent nine months in the salty fertile ocean inside our mother’s womb.
This fabulous banner over the altar looks like that first wet morning breaking in the Genesis story, the Spirit “hovering over the deep and sweeping over the face of the waters.” I think God just said, “Let there be Light, Morning has Broken! “ (I know, it looks like an angel, I haven’t spoken with the banner’s creator, but to me it’s the Holy Spirit straight from her hovering and sweeping over all that blue and now she’s bursting with the light.)
I decorated the altar with the bowl and with my four Blue Theology stoles, (click the pic to see the whole altar) and told the stories of the three dear wise talented mothers who created them– Sandy Johnson (orcas on the right and ocean diversity, second from left) whose “Woman of the Cloth” makes fabulous stoles, Patricia Wood, who gave me the sweet light silky one on the left, and Sue Lawson who made the sea star stole for me last year when I led a Blue Theology Retreat at our church in La Selva Beach.
We shared in the sermon time how our own mothers have been like the ocean, not only creative, nurturing, uplifting, but also sometimes restive, deep, even destructive. There is power in mothering.
One theory about the origin of stoles that pastors wear (besides being like a yoke or like the towel an athlete wears around their neck) is that it is like the soft cloth that a mother (or father) wears all the time on their shoulder when holding a little baby, to comfort and to absorb some “fluids.” Yes, stoles too can get wet. I call my stoles my mother clothes, and my blue ocean stoles are my most precious.
I post these ocean devotionals every Wednesday here and on Facebook. Obviously this post is a repeat from last May, when we could still worship together inside. Mercifully we are still able to walk and worship outside beside Mother Ocean, and thank her for air, climate, bounty and beauty.