The Verbs of life & love.
Actions and words are both important, but most of the time actions do speak louder than words. It matters, what we say, and it matter how we say it, but it matters even more how we live it.
As the good saying says about Sermons: It is easier to give 10 good sermons that to live 1!
The Gospel today is from the last days of the life of Jesus. He knows his time is short. He is aware that before much longer his days of teaching and preaching with his close friends will come to an end.
The gospel today is part of a long closing prayer that Jesus gave: every aspect of the prayer, all the words that he uses, is reflected in all he has already lived out through his life, his being, his presence, his love and his teaching.
In the gospel today, we listen to his prayer, praying that all the work he has done, the efforts he has made, the words he has spoken, the witness he has shown will not come to an end, but will continue in those who was given to him, entrusted to him and who followed him.
All his words mattered and matters, but what truly mattered and matters was his actions, his deeds, his touch, his healing, his presence and his love.
Isn’t that the same with our Mother’s?
It is Mother’s Day today and if you haven’t called your mom, send her flowers, given her a hug, thought of her, forgiven her, visited her, spoiled her yet, - then you better hurry. Because actions do matter more than words.
How do we think about our mothers or how do we remember our mother’s? We might have some memorable or not so memorable words and moments to remember, we might remember the rules enforces through repetition of her way or the highway, - but I am sure we mostly think of our mom or remember our mom due the actions, the touches, the presence, the love. Actions of caring, comforting, cooking, cleaning, caressing, correcting, - actions of love and presence.
As one of my favorite danish poets Soren Ulrich Thomsen captures this motherly touch and presence, when he wrote about the worst and best in life and said: “The best was when the gentle hand of my mom slowly touched the back of my head….”
I am sure we all have some of these best moments and memories from our Mother’s loving hand. Or I would hope that everyone had somebody I their lives that loved them as a mother should and would. We all need a slow gentle motherly touch of the back of our heads to reassure us of love and comfort.
“Fathers be good to your daughters,
daughters will love like you do
Girls become lovers who turn into mothers
So, mothers be good to your daughters too.”
This is the chorus of a wonderful song by John Mayor reflecting on that it does indeed matter. Words matter. Actions matter. Love matters.
It matters how mothers treat their daughters and sons. It matters because daughters and sons will copy and repeat, or rebel against or be destroyed because… of words and actions by their guiding parents. It matters.
What is true in life is also true in scripture: the verbs dominate. It’s what we do and don’t do that preoccupies us in our relationships whiter it being parenthood, marriage, or friendship. And it is the verbs that can save or unite us. It is the verbs that matters.
What would happen if we read todays gospel and let the verbs lead…… just listen to the beautiful verbs that we heard today:
To give, to keep, to receive, to know, to come, to believe, to send, to ask, to glorify, to protect, to guard, to speak, to have, to belong, to take, to sanctify.
Then look at the bulletin cover. The lovely cover by Deidre Scherer “Child and Mother” and then listen to the verbs again:
Give, keep, receive, know, come, believe, send, ask, glorify, protect, guard, speak, have, belong, take and sanctify.
A mother’s love is to give the best, to keep the best safe, to receive the gift of motherhood, to come when she is called upon, to believe the child, to send the child of when she or he is of age, to ask how her child is, to protect her child, to guard her child’s well being and integrity, to speak to her child and speak up for her child to have faith in her child, to belong in a strong relationship with her child.
The verbs dominate in our relationship, in our lives, and even more in our faith.
There are two more verbs that Jesus uses in his prayer: sanctify and glorify.
Sanctify means to consecrate, to make holy, to bless, to dedicate to God.
Glorify means to praise & worship God, & to extol.
Jesus says that he has been glorified through his followers and through God; and he ask God to sanctify them in truth as they are send into the world.
Look at the bulletin cover again.
Sanctify and Glorify.
Our human love and dedication is a mere reflection of the divine love and dedication that we witness through the life and being of Jesus Christ.
We too as mothers and fathers want to protect our children in God’s name, as the bulletin says: we glorify our children as gifts from God and we sanctify our love for them to be truthful and faithful.
And we ask God to glorify and sanctify what we love and cherish. We ask God to love and bless and keep them safe.
What is true in our lives, is true in the scriptures. What is true in the scriptures, is true about God.
The verbs matter and our faith dwells in these words of faith, hope and love. As mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons and daughters.
Give, keep, receive, know, come, believe, send, ask, protect, guard, speak, have, belong, take, sanctify and glorify
And we sing today:
All our blessings, all our joys
With thankful hearts we sing,
Lord of life and Lord of love
Accept the praise we bring.
For parents and for children
For husbands, wives and friends
For those whose care enfolds us
With love that never ends.
In sacrifice and service
Your love is clearly shown
Your outstretched arms embrace us
To bring us safely home
Alle our blessings, all our joys
With thankful hearts we sing
Lord og life and Lord of love
Accept the praise we bring.
A Mother’s Prayer
If I live in a house of spotless beauty with everything in its place, but have not love, I am a housekeeper – not a home maker.
If I have time for waxing, polishing, and decorative achievements, but have not love, my children learn cleanliness, not godliness.
Love leaves the dust in search of a child’s laugh.
Love smiles at the tiny fingerprints on a newly cleaned window.
Love wipes away the tears before it wipes up the spilled milk.
Love picks up the child before it picks up the toys.
Love is present through the trials
Love reprimands, reproves, and is responsive.
Love crawls with the baby, walks with the toddler, runs with the child, then stands aside to let the youth walk into adulthood.
Love is the key that opens salvations’ message to a child’s heart.
Before I became a mother, I took glory in my house of perfection. Now I glory in God’s perfection of my child.
As a mother, there is much I must teach my child, but the greatest of all is love.”