2024 05 12: Mother’s Day 2024

Posted on 14 May 2024

Dear friends in Christ, grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

My wife Janna has warned me again this Mother’s Day that I am not supposed to say anything that will make people cry. So instead of talking about mothers, I am going to speak about children and sibling rivalry. And since my mother died 17 years ago, I will share these sentiments with you that I found in a special section of Hallmark Greeting Cards called “From mom’s favorite.”

“Happy Mother’s Day! You may have failed miserably with my siblings, but at least you got it spot on with me. And that’s something to celebrate!”

“Dear Mom, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. Happy Mother’s Day from your fifth (and favorite) child!”

“Wishing you a Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks for putting up with an annoying, spoiled, ungrateful child like my brother. Love, Your Favorite Child.”

I think my siblings would have sent the following cards which were found in a separate section.

“Thank you for not selling our little brother to the circus – I know it must have been tempting at times!  But you always liked a challenge.” or

“Thanks mom, for not accidentally killing our  brother like you did do all those plants. Happy Mother’s Day!

Is it any wonder that a mother’s work never ends, and that prayer is necessary for every step along life’s way?

Surprisingly, that sentiment is not limited to Mother’s Day greeting cards.  It is biblical as well.  In his farewell sermon in St. John’s gospel, Jesus prayed for his disciples. Who were also prone to sibling rivalry.  They jockeyed for their master’s attention and his approval. They debated among themselves who was Jesus’ favorite. They disagreed on matters of politics and cultural biases. Yet, they were all seated at the same Table with Jesus, as one family. Like a loving and caring mother, Jesu knew each one of their weaknesses and strengths. He also knew the challenges that they would face in the future, when he was gone, and so he prayed, “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

Jesus’ mother may not have been seated with the Twelve Disciples, but her influence could certainly be felt in the Upper Room. Jesus’ prayer for his disciples flowed from the thoughtful experience of a loving through the stages of life.  While fathers pray for success and victory, while mothers pray for patience, strength and encouragement and that her family would hold together- in every season of life.

In the season of life called spring, mothers pray for their children to grow healthy and discern their gifts and talents.  Mothers spend most of their time on the sidelines, loving and encouraging their children from afar – without recognition. Most children are oblivious to what their mothers are doing and experiencing. I am reminded of the poor, distraught mother who was overheard praying, “Oh, dear God, Gracious Father, Blessed Jesus, Holy Spirit, or anyone in heaven that may actually be listening to me, unlike my children.”  Or the mother thought she should bark like her son German Shepherd, just so he would get a hug from him when he came home from college.  For many mothers in the spring of life, simply hearing the words “I love you” and “thank you” are a miracle.

In the season of life called summer, mothers pray for their children to use their talents wisely. It is a time of intensive labor when adult children may feel undervalued in their work and in their home.  Some may think that their mother don’t know anything about their work, but trust me, mothers are still watching.  They watch as their children “sweat” and toil; sometimes they even grow discouraged with them. But mothers also know when their children have found their place.  That is the miracle they pray for.  It’s not walking on water. It’s walking with two feet on the ground, abiding in the present moment and feeling wonderfully alive.

In the season of life called fall, when children step back to admire the ripened fruit of their own labors, mothers take delight as well.  Regretfully, it is often in the fall of life that disappointment stand out most clearly on the horizon.  A normal day without interruptions or  is miracle.  In this season, a child may discover that there is no mother watching over them.  As one wise soul penned.  “Love your parents and treat them with loving care.  One day you’ll know their value when you see their empty chair.”

Finally, in the season of life called winter, mothers pray that the treasures and heritage they leave behind will last for another generation.  Far too often, they fret about money, the cabin, and Grandma Mae’s China service and silver setting. Hopefully, the most important gift they leave behind is the promise of God’s ongoing presence.  As E. M Bounds wrote, was a 19th century chaplain and member of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, “Prayers are deathless. They outlive the lives of those who uttered them.”

My poor mother, may she be enjoying a great adventure in heaven, could barely remember her children’s names unless she counted down from oldest to the youngest of her six children when she died  much less the name of a favorite child.. True, a mother’s influence may be diminished in the winter of life, but it never ends because love never ends. Not even in death.  – not even for a beloved child.   One thing I know and have experienced and grown to appreciate first hand- A mother’s prayer reaches further and is more powerful than we can ever understand on this side of heaven.

That was true for Jesus’ Prayer over his disciples. His was a prayer for future generations. “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.”  On that night, Jesus was praying for you and for me. We are the ones who have come to believe because of the disciples’ words. How often this came to pass through the prayers of faithful mothers who shared the story of Jesus with the next generation.

My friends, on the night in which he was betrayed, Jesus called for his disciples to cast aside their difference and affirm their true unity in God, by honoring the uniqueness and holiness of those God created in his image. And for the sake of the gospel, you and I are called to do the same. It is the prayer of loving mothers, the world over, in every age, in every nation. They long for God’s goodness to rest upon her children and that those they love may be one.  Amen.

May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  Amen.