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Mother's Day
May 12, 2019, 12:00 AM

Grace and Peace to you from the triune God. May the words on my lips and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable to God.

Happy Mother's Day.

As I thought about today's texts and I thought on the theme of Mother's Day, two things connected. One from the Gospel text is how motherhood is often the work, certainly in the early years, of doing for the least able of these. Infants are not capable of surviving without help from the outside. Interestingly, human children are some of the least capable of surviving without help and for one of the longest periods are dependent on support. And thus we find mothers are often the parent who gets up in the middle of the night to care for the child. Mothers are often the person who gets to ensure the child's safety and well being if the parents do not remain as a couple. Mothers have typically been the one to kiss the boo boos to make them go away. Thankfully for many mothers today they are getting more help but as I look around we have not managed to become totally egalitarian when it comes to raising children.

The second place I see a connection between our text and Mother's Day is the question of call. In our reading from Acts we see the call to Barnabas and Saul to go out sharing the good news. The church called them in many of the same ways the church called me. We know that that call originates from God and is placed upon our lives. That said I have met many a mother over the course of time for who this was the pinnacle of their calling. They knew from a very early day that they wished to to be a mother. I have one friend for whom the calling was so strong that when she did not end up with a life partner, she figured out how to have children and she could not be happier. Again and again through out history there is a cadre of people called to be parents and they are disproportionately those called to the task of being a mother.

What a calling to have. The call to participate with God in the act of creating life and then being given the opportunity to nurture that newly formed life. This is certainly not the only way to participate in the creativity of God. I was encouraged in seminary to think of God as being generative. In this sense all the planets and stars and the atmosphere, etc. are part of that which God created. And in that way a painter, an architect and a construction worker all get the opportunity to become part of the work of creating. There are certainly biologists and geneticists that are participating in the work of creating not just objects but life, living beings and organism. All of us are capable of being generative, whether we generate books, art, life, beauty, space for others or … or … or. Yet, with all of that there is something very special about that generative work being the work of helping to create a new human being, the pinnacle we read of creation, and/or having the call to nurture the pinnacle of creation.

As I think about it more, I look at the ministry that Paul and Barnabas had. They preached and in so doing led people to faith. They healed the sick, even to the point of performing miraculous cures for those who did not walk, allowing them to walk. And then people were mistaking them for being God. Now consider the relationship between a mother and a child. Moving backward we know that many children have fashioned their conception of God after their mother and that in so very many ways Mothers are like God to many children both in that they provide and in so far as they are benevolent, working for the benefit of the child and fixing things that are broken. As I look at the work I have seen, many mothers have generated miraculous cures and others who feel unnecessarily guilty that they could not save the child. And finally, when we consider the giants of the faith it is not uncommon to hear about how it started with Mother and/or Grandmother preaching to the children, teaching the children about God and ultimately, bringing them to the church. So, yes mothers often do much of the same work as Barnabas and Paul; preaching, teaching, healing and bringing people to Christ.

I will say that we can be thankful that the terms on mother's day have changed over the years. I heard yesterday that originally the holiday was started to celebrate mothers who had at least ten children. While I have friends with large families (i.e. 5-8 children) I know no one with ten and so am happy to report that those who have had even one child and those who have raised adoptive or foster children can today be included in the celebration.

All of us can see the example of those who are living out a calling and then look to how that might play out in our life. All of us can see the example of one who is following a calling and be led to the question, “What is my calling?” Also, Motherhood may be one great example of the call we see in the text today but it is certainly not the only. Others that come easily to mind are those who go into medicine whether technician, aid, nurse or doctor and in so doing care for the least able or bring about miracles of healing. I think of the work of those I know who are teachers but especially those who are teaching those between 6 months and 18 years old and see the call of Jesus to bring the children as well as go into the corners of the earth teaching. There are those too who exercise the motherly tendency in caring for the friends and family around them, without ever bearing or adopting children of their own.

Finally, for the rest of us. If you want to know what it mean to grieve God's heart. Look at mother's whose children end up on the wrong path, or whose children separate themselves from their parent and especially children who perish before their mother. All of these have a deep seated grief and I think give us a little glimpse into the grief that God feels when we turn our back and walk away, when we do wrong, or when we are in pain.

There are so many good examples from Motherhood that I could bring forth but I think I will close this morning by once again lifting up the mother's in our midst, the mothers who have gone before to rest with the saints and the work of motherhood for the examples they have been to us in our lives and walks as people of faith. I want to lift them up for teaching us the faith. I want to lift them up for miraculous healing they have performed, and I want to lift them up as often being the person whose being we equate with God. Go forth from this service this morning to be of as much service to the world as mothers are to their children. Happy Mother's Day.