Sunday, November 11, 2012

Childbirth as sign: we are all in labor

From the book:
The hermeneutic of the gift holds that every life is given the greatest of all gifts: a call to follow God.  If the body is stamped at creation with a pre-given language of self-giving and fruitfulness, the response to the call is to offer one’s life in gratitude to its Source, our loving God. 

The body giving birth gives a woman essential practice in yielding to grace, and the gift of the power of God.  But even more so, it has acted as a sign of the spiritual life: how all souls, pregnant with the Holy Spirit, are transformed by cooperating with the Spirit, letting God make all things new.  That requires putting aside fear, putting on trust, accepting grace and other helps.  That requires allowing God to lead, work within you, and transform you.  Scripture cites the analogy of birth frequently, and whether “pain” is correctly translated or not, the process of birth is one cited as one we all must embrace:

When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world. So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. (John 16:21-22)

According to John, we are all in labor.  We are all at the point of salvation history where God is pushing through us to the second coming.  This requires attention, acceptance, cooperation with God’s will, and allowing “birth” to happen.  Perhaps the gift of the natural birth process is that it helps us to experience, see and express God’s work in us, as God’s people and as an individual child of God.

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