Fecundity. I love this word because it means more than being fruitful. It means having the capacity to bear an abundance of fruit. We like the thought of being fruitful, but we rarely examine what it requires of us to be fruit bearing—discomfort, pain, trial, patience, darkness and labor.
Fecundity speaks to the capacity for fruitfulness. Jesus of course understood this concept and explained it perfectly in pointing his disciples to grapevines. Comparing the connection to the vine with a connection to himself, he revealed the secret to being fruitful. The capacity for fruitfulness is found in relationship to him. That connection provides the capacity to bear real and lasting fruit. and if you appreciate a good glass of wine, you know what it takes to produce such exquisite vino. The endurance of the grape is equal to the quality of the wine it can produce. Good wine, like good life, requires arid conditions paired with tender care.
The female womb also symbolizes the ability to bear fruit. Fruitfulness doesn’t happen without the capacity for it to happen, and the monthly blood loss and pain presupposes a woman’s ability to bear a child. The woman’s body and feminine cycle is such important imagery for us and it’s a shame that we tend to overlook it. Patriarchal systems that divorce us from the feminine rob us of wisdom and perspective that men and women both need. Male and female are both created in the image of God. When we don’t allow ourselves to reflect on the feminine nature of God, our understanding of God is deficient. Similarly, our communities are deficient when they exclude women from central places of influence and authority.