Augsburg Fortress

Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth

Mothering God, You Gave Me Birth

Poet Jean Janzen's "Mothering God" was inspired by the "well-before-their-time" musings of Julian of Norwich. Tom Trenney's first published hymn arrangement sets these beautiful holy words to the soaring melody of MARYTON, offering each phrase a sensitive and meaningful accompaniment from choir and piano. This is reflective, compelling, gentle music with an unusually inclusive Trinitarian message.
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  • Publisher Augsburg Fortress
  • ISBN 9781451492545
  • Brand Augsburg Choral Library
  • Format Sheet Music
  • Dimensions 7 x 10.25
  • Pages 8
  • Season/Occasion Communion; Easter; Lent & Holy Week; Trinity
  • Voicing Piano; SATB/4-part mixed
  • Difficulty Easy-Medium
  • Publication Date October 15, 2014

Composer Commentary

Since the first time I encountered Jean Janzen's "Mothering God," I was inspired. This beautiful and meaningful text uniquely succeeds in offering an unusually inclusive, theologically sensitive use of the adjective "mothering" in describing the Trinity. For this hymn does not proclaim that God is our Mother, but rather offers God and Jesus and the holy spirit—all three persons of the Trinity—nurturing, caring "mothering" characteristics, inviting the worshiper to enter a more personal relationship with a theological concept that is often somehow distant and austere. And to think that these words were inspired by a mystic from the fourteenth century! I am so humbled that the poet has identified with this setting, and I share with you an excerpt of a letter she sent me shortly after her husband died. The published version of the piece is dedicated to Jean in memory of her husband. We both hope the message of our "unplanned but grace-led collaboration" (we have never met in person!) opens up holy moments in the life of your choirs, congregations, and communities as it has in ours.

"I want you to know that my dear husband died Monday evening this week, the 25th, and yesterday at his funeral service our church choir sang your arrangement of "Mothering God."  The most holy moment of the service was that final note in unison! The choir first learned the piece at their first choir rehearsal on Wednesday, and they were all encouraged to practice with the YouTube performance from your church. They did very well. And I was so comforted by your arrangement in one of the most difficult and blessed times in my life. Louis, a beloved pediatrician in this community, entered the next life with all four of my children and me around his bed, our hands on his dear body. Thank you for blessing my interpretation of Julian of Norwich's words with your fine ear and loving heart. Please tell your choir that you and they became a part of the lives of my dear children, our congregation, and  others in attendance, many of whom commented on the beauty and comfort of the text and arrangement. With gratitude, Jean Janzen"