The Mother’s Day Controversy
This year while I was preparing for our Mother’s Day event at our church I was searching for a something different something with a new angle on the day. After an hour in the blogosphere the world opened up to me. I saw all kinds of people that were frustrated with the “dog and pony” show of Mother’s Day, the “parade” of Mom’s on Mother’s Day,
and my favorite was “Why Mother’s Day Sermons are the Worst”. Oh Ok. Wow.
There’s a lot to overcome I thought.
Though the one blog that was the fiercest was a blog by a millennial (late 20-early 30 something) woman who was lamenting the fact that she couldn’t have children. To this end she stated that she actually skipped church on that day because churches were insensitive to her situation.
I was left dumbfounded.
I probably stared at my screen for 10 minutes. I had never heard of such things. Really. My initial reaction was, “Doesn’t she have a mother?” “Can’t she honor her friends that are mothers?” “That’s ridiculous?” “How me centered and narcissistic.”
Pretty harsh, huh?
I thought about it for a day. And decided to take it to social media and ranted for a couple lines about the “Me centered culture”, “the victimization culture”, “the it’s always about me”, blah, blah, blah, hoping to invoke some emotion. Wow did I get it.
The responses were split right down the middle. Half the respondents thought I was right on, “A symptom of our me-centric culture — A teaching moment” one wrote; another wrote “It’s now a right not to hear things I don’t like.” Yet the other half wrote, “Is it too much to expect pastors & church leaders to have at least a modicum of
sensitivity & respect for their feelings?” and another noted, “You can chose to be negative and ignore what this woman (in the blog) kindly laid out, or receive it as a challenge”.
Huh. That’s pretty good, so I accepted the challenge.
So here’s what I did. We thought about “Mom: The Three Images of God”. We started thinking about Eve, Hannah, and Mary the mother of Jesus as three different aspects of how Mother’s are made in God’s image.
We started with Eve in the sense that God made Eve in the image of God and she was given the task “to multiply, subdue and fulfill the earth” in some theological circles that’s the “Cultural Mandate”. Essentially it’s the call for the “first mother” Eve, to create and mother children as to create culture. Think of that, mothers were created to be in charge of creating cultural simply by raising children that become responsible adults. So if every mother took this idea seriously then making a great culture would be easy. Just raise great babies! I wish it were that easy.
The second mother was a where I picked up the respondents challenge. Hannah was the mother of Samuel and Hannah could not conceive (1 Sam 1:6). And she felt it. It pained her so much that she cried so hard that she didn’t have any more words to say (1 Sam 13).
Here is a clear picture of what some women feel on Mother’s Day. In 1 Samuel we see what real pain looks likes when it becomes real and human. I am starting to see the bloggers point. At this point the priest asks her if she’s drunk because she’s just mumbling. She wasn’t. She was simply exhausted. Emotionally, spiritually, physically exhausted. As the story unfolds, as in good Hebrew tradition, God does bless Hannah with child. And when God blesses her she gives that child back to God. “I prayed for this child, and the Lord answered my prayer and gave him to me. Now I give him back to the Lord. He will belong to the Lord all his life.” And she worshiped the Lord there.” (1 Sam 1:24-28). What a remarkable women.
There’s a couple of takeaways here. Sometimes God does bless us with our hearts desire and when God does bless us, we need to figuratively and spiritually, give that blessing back to the glory of God. Sometimes mothers (and Fathers too) simply need to give their children back to God where they came from.
Other times, God simply doesn’t answer and when there is silence we need to let people cry it out. Be sensitive. Listen if need be. Don’t pity them. Sometimes saying nothing is the best thing we do and simply “being” is often better then “doing”. Some things are a mystery. Sometimes I guess you can miss Mother’s Day when the pain is too raw and too real. I see the point.
Later we see a Mother who felt real and raw pain. A mother who had a child, gave him back to God and then later lost him to the cross but to gain him for eternity. Mary felt pain. It was real. It was priceless. Mary the mother of Jesus models for us how to work through the pain of motherhood when tragedy strikes. I am sure Mary had big questions as to why God choose her path. Though what Mary shows us is great maturity and leadership. Mary models for us how to work through the pain of the past. Notice that Mary was in the upper room when the church started in Acts 2. With time she overcame her pain and became a leader in the early church.
Looking for that new angle for Mother’s Day we learned that mothers’ have a responsibility to create culture by raising strong children. Mother’s can cry out to God as they overcome pain and give back to God what was given to them. Mother’s show us how to lead through pain in a mature and thoughtful manner. Mother’s
show us how to overcome because these three mothers’ overcame a lot.
Happy Mothers Day!!
A economic theologian, pastor, & ceo