Those who planned the worship service you’ll be attending this Sunday wrestled with the challenges presented by Mother’s Day. Like and unlike other holidays, it stirs up a strong mix of feelings. It can be a joyful day for family celebrations. And a sweet day to cherish memories. And a dark day for those whose experiences with mothers or as mothers were not of the sort for which greeting cards are made. It can be an inspiring day to raise and to reflect on that which makes motherhood holy for us. And a painful day for those who experience infertility or barriers to adoption or foster care. And a day of deeper mourning for those whose children have died. It can be a day when it’s a bit easy to miss the truth that choosing not to be a mother can also be the answer to a holy calling. For those who celebrate, for those who remember sweetly, for those in darkness, for those inspired, for those who mourn and for those who choose another path, we raise our prayers.
The founder of Mother’s Day in this country herself, Anna Jarvis, came to have mixed feelings about the holiday she worked to establish – even to the point of wishing she could unfound it! She was not a fan of printed greeting cards. The day she imagined wasn’t a day to buy a card with money, but rather a day to write a tender letter. I commend to each of us the holy practice of writing a tender letter today.
Long ago, a woman who had lived to a great age invited me into a God conversation. She wanted to know whether God would forgive her for having stolen food to feed her child during a season of her life when no other choice seemed possible and this choice felt unforgiveable. To this day, I can ache over the burden of guilt and fear she carried. I ache order doxycycline online uk alongside you over the truth that too many mothers in our own communities and around the world have too little to offer their children. I commend to each of us the holy practice of paying care-full attention to the mothers we won’t see unless we look for them, mothers who need what we can give.
Among my faith heroes are a son and a daughter who gave me the story of spending their mother’s memorial money. Not on anything that would hold an inscription, but on a soul-full shopping romp for the congregation’s food pantry. Scooter-ing through parking lots on the back ends of shopping carts holding hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars of food and toiletries and laundry soap. I commend to each of us the holy practice of particular, romping generosity toward those who will never know the gift came through our hands.
Last week, I sat with my dad and step-mother for dinner. We had chicken. My dad’s dear wife raised a memory from childhood: “Mother always chose the back.” Oh, amen. We are called to put the children first, to place them in front of us, to help their faith form and also to be led by them into the realm of God. I commend to each of us the holy practice of praying over our congregations’ resources and working to make sure the time and dollars we spend in ministry and mission reflect our calling to put the children ahead of us. I commend to each of us grown-ups the spiritual practice of choosing backs and necks and wings so that the children among us might have the meatier parts.
I’ll look forward to the love stories you might send back to me – of tender notes, aches, gifts, romps, and chicken parts.
Thanking God for each of you,
Jonna Jensen, Associate Conference Minister