Why Mothers Matter

Why Mothers Matter May 21, 2024

Happy Mother’s Day


Yes, I’m still thinking about Mother’s Day. One day a year doesn’t seem to be enough. Besides, Mother’s Day doesn’t have a day in the Christian calendar. Therefore, I honor mothers, but don’t preach a Mother’s Day sermon. Happy Mother’s Day to Mother Eve to Mother Mary!

If I did depart from the lectionary, God forbid, I would preach God is our Mother. My text would be Isaiah 65:5 – 13:

Hear the word of the Lord,
you who tremble at his word:
Your own people who hate you
and reject you for my name’s sake
have said, “Let the Lord be glorified,
so that we may see your joy,”
but it is they who shall be put to shame.

Listen, a roar from the city!
A voice from the temple!
The voice of the Lord,
dealing retribution to his enemies!

Before she was in labor
she gave birth;
before her pain came upon her
she delivered a son.
Who has heard of such a thing?
Who has seen such things?
Shall a land be born in one day?
Shall a nation be delivered in one moment?
Yet as soon as Zion was in labor
she delivered her children.
Shall I open the womb and not deliver?
says the Lord;
shall I, the one who delivers, shut the womb?
says your God.

10 Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her—
11 that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast,
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious bosom.

12 For thus says the Lord:
I will extend prosperity to her like a river
and the wealth of the nations like an overflowing stream,
and you shall nurse and be carried on her arm
and bounced on her knees.
13 As a mother comforts her child,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

Like a suffering mother God has always and continues to love us, to hold us in the everlasting arms of compassion and empathy. In our rebellions, God our Mother has taken us back again and again.

The Bible fills with stories of women who turned the tide of history away from darkness, violence, war, and tribulation. Where would we be if God were not the Mother Hen gathering her brood beneath her sheltering wings?

Let us get down on our knees and thank God for the powerful women of the Bible. The mothers in the genealogy of Jesus deserve a special blessing, Let us say, “Thank you Lord!” for the powerful witness of Rahab – the first person to declare faith in God within the bounds of the Promised Land.

Let us lift up Rachel – perhaps the most tragic and grief-stricken mother in Scripture. While giving birth to Benjamin, “Rachel died, and she was buried on the way to Ephrath, that is, Bethlehem.” 

The Nativity at Bethlehem
Photo by Ana Carolina Miliani

Jeremiah 31:15 – “A voice is heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; she refuses to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”

Let us lift up Naomi – the woman crushed by the sorrow of losing her husband and her sons, a woman so deep in the cup of grief she felt name-forsaken and asked to be called “Mara” – meaning bitter. But Naomi recovered and aided Ruth in finding a husband to secure her future and the future of the line of Jesse, David, and Jesus.

And let us dare not leave out Bathsheba, mother of Solomon and victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Israel’s most powerful king.

Out of professional habit, I can’t totally leave out the lectionary reading from Acts 1:21-26: The eleven are gathered to select someone to replace Judas. The primary qualification for being one of the 12, according to Luke: “So one of the men who have accompanied us throughout the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection.’”

Based on the qualification, it is not a man who was with Jesus the longest. Not Peter. Not Andrew. Not James or John. The person who was with Jesus the longest was Mary, his mother.

Again, Happy Mother’s Day again and again!


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