This week at Mount Hebron Presbyterian Church we are taking a break from our series “Peter's Perspectives.” (Our most recent sermon on that topic “Christ's Example” can be found here.) This coming Sunday is Mothering Sunday, or in some traditions “Christian Family Sunday.” I'm not sure Hallmark have begun producing cards with the latter inscription upon them, but I guess it will only be a matter of time before they catch on.
Without a doubt one of the biggest changes in society has been that of family structure. The statistical home of two parents and 2.5 children in no longer the norm. As the nuclear family has changed, so also has the extended family structure. Grandparents may or may not be in the picture. Aunts and Uncles can be next door neighbors or folk in a far away places.
It is a good that we have a Sunday to honor those who nurture our lives. I'm not sure that we need a different Sunday to honor every single relationship that can possibly exist. But to have a time set aside to focus on the many blessings that we have received at the hands of those who over the years have cared for us and guided our steps is a positive thing.
Honoring all those who nurture us is also a way of recognizing that not everybody finds “Mother's Day” a time for blessings. Some are unable to bear children. Some have lost children under tragic circumstances. Some have had terrible family relationships or not even known who their parents were.
Yet we have all had those people who helped form the people we have become. Be that foster parents or surrogate parents or same gender parents or grandparents or single parents... or even two parents with 2.5 children, we are thankful for those that encouraged us to grow, showered us with love and never gave upon us.
When we read about the life of the earliest church in the Book of Acts we discover that they took a special interest in caring for the needs of widows and orphans. Many in the earliest church appear to have been those who were not part of what we might describe as “traditional families.” Surely this teaches us that there is a welcome for all people in the family of God!
Indeed, when many are in places where they are struggling to find exactly where home might be, the church has a role in inviting people to find their home in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. When He died upon the Cross He broke down the barriers that separated us. In His teaching He encouraged us to see each other as the brother's and sisters of One Universal parent.
Jesus used images of God that included God as a Mother Hen who wished to gather chicks together under her wings (Matthew 23:27) and encouraged us to pray to “Our Father, Who art in heaven...” (Matthew 6:9). Traditional Christian doctrine has spoken of the Church as “Our Mother in the faith.”
This weekend, take the time to honor your mother. And if that's not possible, then honor any who have played a motherly role in your life. We would not be the people we are today without those who came before us and guided our way. And if you are in the vicinity feeling thankful... join us at 10:00 a.m. for our Mothers Day/Christian Family celebration.
For some music... a song (with lyrics) from the movie Ice Age 4... “We are Family.”
The Reverend Adrian J. Pratt B.D.