Sermon, Mother’s Day 2010 Fr. Scott Homer
In the Name of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Amen.
I am about to preach a mothers day sermon. It will be my first. I have never preached a mothers day sermon before for at least two reasons. First, my job, as pastor and preacher, is not to make you feel good about secular holidays, no matter how good intentioned that holiday may be. My job is to make the gospel known in a way that you can receive it and apply it to your daily life. And so, I have always concluded that sermons catering to the holiday dujour abandon their primary purpose.
The second reason is a pastoral concern. Although many of us had good mothers who cared for us, and loved and nurtured us, that is by no means universal. Some of us had poor mothers. Some may even have been abandoned buy their mother. The truth is, no mother is good all the time and some mothers just arn’t very good most of the time—and so mothers day sermons that sing the praises of mothers as paragons of virtue may bring fond memories for some of us, they may puff some of us up but they will surely bring bitterness and resentments for others, or shame and remorse to still others.
I have decided to speak to mothers day today because I am convinced that when mothering is done well it more closely models the love of Jesus than just about any other human endeavor. Motherhood, like all other human endeavors, is an enterprise checkered with successes and failures, and yet when it is done well, it is characterized by self-sacrifice, suffering, kindness, compassion and humility. A woman determined to be a good mother becomes a practitioner of patient service for others and she spends her life assisting helpless children to become responsible adults—usually with very little fanfare or reward.
Let's begin with some jokes. One of the characteristics my mother had to demonstrate was the ability to patiently endure jokes. So here goes. I received this by email the other day. Here is a list of things only a mother can teach:
My Mother taught me about ANTICIPATION:
"Just wait until your father gets home."
My Mother taught me about RECEIVING:
"You are going to get it when we get home!"
My Mother taught me LOGIC:
"Because I said so, that's why."
My Mother taught me HUMOR:
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."
My Mother taught me about GENETICS:
"You're just like your father."
My Mother taught me about JUSTICE:
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you. Then you'll see what it's like."
My mother taught me RELIGION:
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."
My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL:
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"
My mother taught me FORESIGHT:
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."
My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS:
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper!"
My mother taught me about WEATHER:
"It looks as if a tornado swept through your room."
My mother taught me THE CIRCLE OF LIFE:
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."
My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION:
"Stop acting like your father!"
Now those are the jokes, but seriously, there are some priceless lessons we can learn from mothers:
My mother taught me about SERVANTHOOD:
She cooked my meals, cleaned my house, cared for me when I was well and when I was sick.
My mother taught me about SUFFERING:
She carried me, she suffered in childbirth, she worried about me countless times.
My mother taught me about PATIENT ENDURANCE:
She never gave up on me. She never tired of my nonsense. She never abandoned me, no matter how much I deserved to be abandoned.
My mother taught me about FORGIVENESS:
She overlooked my shortcomings. She did not hold a grudge when I hurt her feelings. She continued to care for me even when I acted badly.
My mother taught me about FAITH:
She taught me to pray. She showed me the love of Jesus. She modeled trust in God everyday.
My mother taught me about LOVE:
In John 15.13 Jesus describes true love. He says, 13 "Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” My mother laid down her life for me. She didn’t do it perfectly—far from it. She made mistakes. She sometimes acted selfishly but to the best of her ability she loved in the way Jesus teaches us all to love one another
And that is the message this mothers day. Jesus talks a great deal about love but he doesn’t just talk about it. He does it. He lays down his life for all the people of the world. He sacrifices his life in order to provide a better future for God’s children. And Jesus’ love is the reason we have gathered here this morning. It is the reason that we have hope. But we live some two thousand years after the birth of Christ. We read about it in a book. We are told about it in story but we have never had the opportunity to actually see Jesus’ love played out in the flesh, or have we?
I heard Scott Jessel quoting someone the other day. He said, “there are five Gospels really: Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and your life. And your life is the only Gospel many folks are ever going to read.” If people are going to learn about true agape love, if they are going to see sacrifice and forgiveness and compassion and kindness and humility and service to others and associate those things with the love of Christ they are going to do it because they see it modeled to them. And the place where we see Christian love modeled most often and most accurately is in the behavior of good mothers. And this place is full of good mothers this morning—not perfect mothers, mothers that have made all sorts of mistakes—but mothers who have, to the best of their abilities devoted themselves to their children. Thank you all you moms who have modeled the love of Christ in the real nitty gritty of everyday life.
Dear God, Thank you for our Mothers! Thank you for the love and sacrifices that they have made in order to enable us to survive and to grow into the people we are today. We thank you for giving every mother a heart of love, a love that awakens her at her baby's first cries, a love that keeps her watching until her last child finally comes home! Thank You for our mothers, for their caring for us in our struggles, for their comforting us in our suffering, and for their joy when we succeed. Thank You for their hugs, their encouragement, and their faithful love.
Thank you, Father, for St. Mary, our heavenly mother, who supported Your Son in His hopes and dreams, stayed by His side in His devastating death, and rejoiced with Him in His triumphant Resurrection! Please protect and bless all our mothers with Your strength, Your joy, and Your undying love. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.