NOTE: It is always hard to decide whether to preach about Mother’s Day or follow the Revised Common Lectionary reading. After much thought, since there are a lot of mothers who frequent In The Garden (most of whom are separated from their children), I decided to recognize the various kinds of mothers within the group and the wider community. Usually you hear a syrupy sweet sermon about motherhood, but I wanted to acknowledge there are a lot of other mothers who are probably hurting as the rest of the world celebrates the joys of motherhood).
Today we celebrate Mother’s Day. . . sometimes a little tricky time for all of us. Some of us have wonderful memories of our mothers, some of us had difficult relationships with our mothers, and some of us were not raised in a family with a mother at all.
And for those of you who are mothers it isn’t a bed of roses either: caring for lots of little ones is a tough job; some have lost their children through death or drugs or mental illness; some are separated for a variety of reasons. And some of you may be even awaiting the birth of a child.
There are all kinds of mothers and in this world; and there are women, who though childless, raise children; ‘mother’ children not their own, maybe better than the biological mother!. Mother’s Day should be a time to recognize all of them:
• To those who gave birth this year to their first child — we celebrate with you
• To those who are in the trenches with little ones every day and wear the badge of food stains – we appreciate you
• To those who are foster moms, mentor moms, and spiritual moms – we need you
• To those who have warm and close relationships with your children – we celebrate with you
• To those who lost a child this year – we mourn with you
• To those who experienced loss through miscarriage, failed adoptions, or running away — we mourn with you
• To those who have disappointment, heart ache, and distance with your children – we sit with you
• To those who lost their mothers this year – we grieve with you
• To those who are single and long to be married and mothering your own children – we mourn that life has not turned out the way you longed for it to be
• To those who step-parent – we walk with you on these complex paths
• To those who envisioned lavishing love on grandchildren – yet that dream is not to be, we grieve with you
• To those who placed children up for adoption — we commend you for your selflessness and remember how you hold that child in your heart
• And to those who are pregnant with new life, both expected and surprising – we anticipate with you
• For the seen and known joys of motherhood, we rejoice and smile and celebrate with you.
• For the seen and known suffering in motherhood, we ache with you.
For many of us, our mother or main caregiver when we were infants was our first experience of the love of God. To be a mother is to have the chance to show the unconditional, never-ending love of God to another.
So this Mother’s Day, let us remember all women, biological, adoptive and ‘stand-in’ mothers, and give thanks that they exist to express God’s love of us. . . a God who nourishes us, hold us safe in His Glory, bandages our wounds, and shows us the way home – and lets us all strive to show a mother’s abiding love to each other every day.
(I then asked individual people to talk about what their mother meant to them)
Delivered at In The Garden, Trinity Episcopal Church on Capitol Square, 11 May 2014