The early church father, Cyprian wrote, “One cannot have God as Father who does not have the church as mother.” Tomorrow as we read God speaking in the Old Testament Lesson from Isaiah 66:10-14, we have before us the image of a mother. In Isaiah the mother image points to Jerusalem. For us, it points to the church. It calls us to rejoice in the church, be glad for the church, all who love her and all who mourn her. For the function of the church as Paul puts it in the epistle lesson is to act in a spirit of gentleness. We read in Isaiah, “That you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance.” The church is to satisfy the longing for the pure spiritual milk of the word. To in effect be a mother carrying a child on her hip and bouncing it on her knee. The church is to be like a mother who comforts her child as announced in chapter 40, “Comfort, comfort my people.”
Whether we can rejoice over the church or whether we mourn it as not being what it once was. God still has chosen the church to announce to the world as Peter did on Pentecost, “Turn to God and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.” And then to offer the nourishment of the sacrament of salvation, Jesus body and blood in Communion. Thus, all may taste and see the goodness of God.