Sermon & Gospel John 14
A fine old Jewish saying tells us that God couldn’t be everywhere, and that why God made mothers.
So once again: happy Mother’s Day to all who are mothers, to all who have mothers, to all who mothers others, aunts, sisters, teachers, grandmothers, neighbors, and friends.
Mother’s Day is a fine day – and we are all told to remember to call our moms or send flowers. So, if you haven’t, I encourage you to do so. And if you have not received a call or a card from your children yet, I encourage you to be patient and forgiving.
Yesterday when I went to Stater Bros, there was a constant stream of boys and men of all ages and shapes; but united with one purpose. To find the right card or find the most beautiful flowers. Which reminds me of the wonderful story about a wealthy man who wanted to give his mother something special on Mother’s Day. So, he went to a pet shop and saw a very expensive taking bid. This was an unusual bird; it could whistle Amazing Grace and it could quote Psalm 23. The cost was indeed also unusual: $ 30.000 but the man thought: his mother was indeed unusual and he had plenty of money to spend. So, he bought it and send it with UPS to his mother.
On Mother’s Day, he picked up the phone as any good son, called his mom and asked: “How did you like the bird I send you?” She said” O, she said that duck was absolutely delicious. There is still something left for you in the fridge, if you stop by?”
Today we listen in the Gospel of John wo one of the 7 I am Statements of Jesus:” I am the way, the truth and the life.”
And it says in the most profound way that “without a way, there I no going; without the truth, there is no knowing; without the life, there is no living.”
“I am the way” may even echo our mothers voice when she has been leading the way and setting the path for us to follow. “It is my way or the highway!” Growing up, we were taught to follow the ways of our mother, for better and worse. Having good loving, responsible parents makes it easy to follow the way and path, - but mothers and fathers do come in many shapes. And sometimes the ways and the examples of our parents are not the best to follow – and we need to find our own way.
Sometimes parents and children go separate ways because of differences, disagreements, or disappointments. Which reminds me of another mother story.
A mom was out walking with her 5-year-old daughter. She picked up a lollipop on the ground and was just about to put it in her mouth. Her mom quickly took the lollipop away and told her daughter never to do that again. “Why? “she asked.
“Because it has been on the ground and you don’t know where it’s been. Its dirty and probably has a lot of germs.”
At this point the daughter looked up at her mom and with absolute awe and adminaration said: “ Mom, how do you know al lthis stuff ? You are so smart!”
Her mom said: “ Well, all moms know this stuff. It on the mom test. Yoy have to know it, or they don’t let you be a MOM.”
They walked along in slience, and they the girl said: “ Oh I get it! So if you don’t pass the test, you have to be the dad!”
I am the way , the truth and the life.
Sometimes we as mothers think we know it all! And that the only way is ours, and the only truth is ours. Sometimes mothers do forget that there are more sides to a story and maybe even different ways to do things.
It is complicated and messy being a mom. Being a parent. It is complicated, messy, difficult, heart wrenching to be a parent, but it is also heartwarming, simple, lovely, pure and loving.
I am the way, the truth and the life.
As I said last Sunday: when I must present myself in a short precise manner and must let people know who I am: I am a mother, a wife, and a pastor. Happy to be all three in one.
To be a mother is such a vital part of being me, that I can’t even remember how it felt like not being a mom. I know: it was more carefree, it was more centered on myself and it was so full of extra me-time. Before I became a mother, I had these ideas of how to raise my kids, how to show the way, how to instill the truth and how to show them life at its fullest. And being a mother, I have so many amendments to the original constitution!
Being a mom is not easy, it can be frustrating and exhausting. There are really no fool proof formulas. Kids are different. And you can raise two kids the same, and they might turn out very differently! one.''
I am the way, the truth, and the life.
Without the way, there is no going
Without the truth, there is no knowing
Without the life, there is no living.
Mothers and fathers need guidance too.
Oh, there are plenty of books about parenting. Bur what I am talking about is: that we as mothers, fathers, parents, grandparents, loving aunt, funny uncles, good teachers, and gracious neighbors, need guidance and comfort too.
Today’s Gospel tells us that Jesus promised to go in front of us and prepare a place for us in his Father’s house. And we are called to follow him and his path – to believe in him and his words.
As we follow the ways and teachings of our parents, - we follow the ways and teaching of Christ. And as a good mother’s love is devoted, unselfish, endless, and enduring, as a good mother’s love is patient, forgiving and embracing, we do believe that that kind of love reflects God’s love.
And we sing today with Mary and all mothers:
“Great and mighty are you,
O Holy one,
strong in your kindness evermore.
How you favor the weak and lowly one
humbling the proud at heart”
A Prayer for Mothers.
This Day as we gather, we pray for mothers.
We pray for young mothers; may they be blessed with patience & tenderness to care for their children with love & joy.
We pray for our own mothers, who have nurtured & cared for us; may they continue to guide us through time.
We remember & pray for mothers, who are separated from their children, because of war, poverty, or conflict; may they feel the loving embrace of you, God, who wipes every tear away.
We remember mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers, who are no longer with us, but who live forever in our memory and in God’s love. Bless & protect all mother’s today and may we all trust in God’s grace. AMEN