Sermon “On Mother’s and love.”
An old Jewish saying tells us that God couldn’t be everywhere and that’s why God made mothers.
So happy mother’s day to all who are mothers, to all who have mothers, to all who mother others – be you aunts, sisters, teachers, grandmothers, neighbors, or friends.
Could everyone who has or had a mother please raise their hand? We all have a mother and it is truly one of the greatest blessings given to us to have mothers and be mothers.
So I invite all of you to turn to the person next to you and tell her or him the name of your mother. And then just with one word: describe your mother.
As all the different names of our mothers did circulate, I am sure many beautiful words did describe our mothers too: love, patience, food, laughter, comfort, hugs but maybe also discipline, disappointment or disagreement. Blessed are we all to have had a mother, since she brought us into life. She might have been our blessed beloved mom, but she could also have been our cursed craving mother, who was indeed not the mother we had hoped for. And sometimes even mothers get things wrong.
A young Danish singer has had a remarkable success on the music scene the last couple of months. You might have heard his wonderful epic hit called: “Seven years.” about growing up.
In March I was indeed a very good and popular mother and got tickets for our boys and some of their friends to go to a concert with this young Lukas Graham. The young Dane was singing and asking everyone to sing along on another of his songs called “Mama said”. And all of the young kids and even us older ones sang along:
“Mama said we were good kids,
And daddy told us never listen to the ones
pointing nasty fingers and making fun.
Cause we were good kids.”
And as the entire concert venue was swaying and singing along to Mama said… the young successful Danish singer got emotional and said: “And now I really miss my mom who is all the way back in Denmark… 10.000 miles away!”
And his loving and honest emotions just hit me as it hit most of the other mothers listening. “Oh we sighed, isn’t he just a good kid? Singing with such love and affection about his mom and dad?”
And then Lukas Graham sang further into our mother hearts:
“I know which place I’m from, I know my home.
When I’m in doubt and struggling
that’s where I go.
My mama said that is was ok.
Mama said that it was quite alright.
Mama said that we were good kids…”
So today we give thanks for the mothers who made us feel like good kids. We celebrate and give thanks for all the life giving gifts to us, both large and small, all the perseverance, patience and abiding guidance and love.
Or as good old Garrison Keillor so eloquently puts it: “ I am a cheerful man, even in the dark, and it’s all thanks to a good Lutheran mother. My mother was well composed, a true Lutheran, and taught me to Cheer up, make yourself useful, mind your manners, and above all: Don’t feel sorry for yourself. … Being Lutheran, Mother believed that self-pity is a deadly sin and so is nostalgia, and she had no time for either. It could be worse.”
And then we look at the beautiful cover of the bulletin today. “Love deeply” it is called the warm, loving image of deep love. It could be a Madonna painting with the small child in front, comforted by the mother and lastly embraced by the father. Or maybe our Heavenly father.
“May they be one, as we are one.” It could even be an image of the Holy Trinity – complete, intertwined and combined in love.
The Gospel from John is filled with love and relations: “so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
God loves us as his children through Jesus Christ.
God loves our children through us.
And one of our biggest ambitions as parents, as mothers and fathers, is to hope that the love we gave our children will be in them, guide them, protect them and support them.
So we celebrate Mother’s day with love. And perhaps we should dig even deeper than just the usual commercial superficial celebration, and find the earliest origin to this day.
In 1870, 146 years ago, Julia Ward Howe, a New England abolitionist, scholar and early feminist, was so moved by the carnage of wars here in America and in Europe, that she wrote the Mother’s Day Proclamation in which she called mothers everywhere to stand up against the slaughter of warfare.
(And ironically this same woman some 12 years earlier had written what became one of the most popular songs of the Civil War: “The battle hymn of the Republic” a song where God is depicted marching alongside soldiers with terrible swift sword…. This might be Howe’s most enduring legacy, this super patriotic song, we sing when we remember our fallen. Only to 12 years after, in the aftermath of war and death, she wrote her Mother’s Day Proclamation. It is in fact a redemptive piece with its call for peace for Mothers and their sons.
For in her proclamation she boldly declares that no mothers sons should be taken from them “ to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy and patience. “
And she goes on:” We the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs. No one’s children are more important than anyone else’s,” she said. No nations design on powers or processions can justify the violence of war.
In words that are nearly the direct opposite of the lines she had written a decade earlier, that “terrible swift sword” is now called what it is a weapon, when she proclaims “The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.” And invoking and believing that a mother’s love for her children is absolutely universal, she insists that “the great human family can live in peace.”
Indeed, Howe’s proclamation envisioned what has seemed impossible for humankind from the beginning of time: peace between nations, a kind of peace that answers God’s call to compassion and love.
“ May they be one, as we are one.”
On this fine mother’s day surrounded by beautiful red roses of passion, faith and loving memories, we may be hit by the distance and distraction from that old proclamation in the past century and the rampant commercialization that marks our current form of Mother’s Day.
Where did the love go?
Not just to your mother, but to your neighbor and even your enemies’ mothers?
What happened to the effort to try to make peace and eliminate the senseless wars and suffering?
When we listen to the Mother’s Day proclamation from the past it echoes the even softer and wiser voice from the Gospel… the voice of Jesus Christ praying: “ that the love with which you have loved me, may be in them, and I in them.”
On this fine Mother’s day, we are not surprised that it is in fact the single busiest day in the entire year for restaurants and florists.
It is the day we will spent over $ 2.6 billion on florists, $ 1.5 billion for gifts, and another $ 70 million on greeting cards. Not what we will pay for postage, telephone calls or dinner…. Those ads up for $ 4.8 billion or the equivalent of the cost of cleaning up after the BP oil spill!
We do send our cards and probably bring flowers too. We do think of our mothers today and we do give thanks. But we also should dig deeper into the thought of love, peace and commitment that should run deeper than just this single day of the year.
And just to finish of:
One fine day there was a four-year-old and a six-year-old who went down the street with their dad to buy mom a mother’s day present. They bought her a pot plant.
On mother’s day the four-year-old was really excited because they had used their own money to buy. But the six-year-old was a little upset.
Mom asked what was wrong… “There was a really really big bunch of flower we wanted to give you. And it was really pretty but we did not have enough money. It was just for you… It had a ribbon on it that said: “Rest in peace” and we thought it would be just perfect since you are always asking for some rest and peace.
Whiter you are a mom or a child of a mom, remember the blessing God has given you through your mom and thank God for the blessing they Give.
Coffee Mug: I am grateful for……