Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!
There was a very classy, high-end company cocktail party at which a distinguished and prestigious lawyer ran into a housewife. He asked her what she did for a living. The housewife replied “Currently I am socializing four homo-sapiens in the dominant values of the Judeo-Christian tradition in order that they might become instruments of transformation in the social order ever pressing towards the teleologically prescribed utopia inherent in the coming eschaton.” She paused and then added, “And what is it that you do sir?” The lawyer kind of stuttered and said “Uh, ya. I’m just a lawyer.” Only a mother could make a highfalutin lawyer speechless!
I wish all of our moms a sincere and very happy Mother’s Day today! Not even one of us would be here without you so we need to be extra thankful today and always! It’s truly miraculous when we consider how God has created such an important and central vocation for the procreation and nurture of life. Motherhood, and likewise Fatherhood, can both be seen in the light of stewardship. When the Lord blesses mother and father with a child or children, placing them into their arms, it is indeed His will that those children would be brought up to know our Lord Jesus and walk in His ways, honoring His Word. In fact, this is part of what parents promise when they bring their children to the waters of Baptism. We want our kids to grow up knowing that the Lord and Creator of the Universe thinks the world of them, so much so that He Himself would give up His only Son on the cross for them.
But we need to be brutally honest, that motherhood is probably the toughest job in the universe. And it’s tougher today than it has ever been before! …Now I can hear it already, some of our older crowd are ready to burn me at the stake for saying this because they can still remember having to do clothes washing by hand! They raised double, sometimes triple, maybe even quadruple the amount of children of today’s modern-mom without all the modern conveniences! No dishwashers. No on site laundry. Putting in and tending a huge garden and then canning everything in mason jars! That crowd is looking at me with contempt right now! I can feel their cold and icy gaze burning right through me! But hold on, let me explain! It’s harder today because the world has changed. Technology has changed the world forever, from TV to Internet to Smart Phones to Facebook, the world that many of our older folks grew up in is long gone. The days when mothers were housewives that stayed home with their children have largely vanished. We may be getting a taste of it again though thanks to a certain world-wide pandemic. But listen to what Moses said about teaching the Lord’s commandments to kids: “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deut. 6:7). I would put forward that the bulk of modern life and activities get in the way of these important times spent with our kids. And perhaps that’s one plus about this pandemic - it is forcibly bringing us back to focused, family proximity. It provides not only the time and venue to be together, but also to focus in on our Lord’s words to us.
Because, when things are normal and there is no massive quarantine and worldwide upheaval, it truly does seem that western culture competes with our faith, making parenting and raising Christian kids so much more difficult. The moms of decades ago may not have had all the modern conveniences but they also didn’t live in a culture where the media, the news, online search engines, social media platforms, the public school system, movies, songs, radio, drugs, gangs and literally everything else is bombarding our kids with non-stop, non-Christian and even hostile anti-Christian messages! The attacks on the Christian young person and the Christian family have never been more encompassing than they are right now. But, as such attacks rise, so must our Christian faith. It needs to be stronger and more talked about at home. More trust in God is needed. More emphasis made on reading God’s Word together at home. We need to really key in to Moses’ words about teaching our kids right from wrong in the scriptures when they sit down, when they walk by, when they lie down and when they get up. It’s not easy. But with God nothing is impossible.
A four-year-old girl and a six-year-old boy ran into the house and happily presented their Mom with a house plant for Mother’s Day. They had saved up their own piggy bank money to buy it and she was over the moon with their heartfelt gift! The little boy said with a sad face “There was a real pretty bouquet at the flower store but it was really expensive and we couldn’t buy it. It had a big fancy ribbon on it and everything that said ‘Rest In Peace’ and we thought it would be just perfect for you since you’re always asking for a little peace so you can rest!”
Showing gratitude to our parents, and especially today to our mothers, is always a good thing. Sometimes we do so with gifts, or kind words and phone calls, maybe it’s quality time or hugs or acts of service. No matter the expression, when we consider how amazing it is to have parents who have loved us and been there for us and helped us through life, we are nearly always short on praise for them. So we are mindful of Moses’ words and we keep the 4th Commandment to honor our Mothers and Fathers as they truly are God’s frontline warriors and ambassadors! And as such, we owe them our respect, honor and obedience.
I remember when I was in Ukraine many moons ago. There were all kinds of Babushkas - literally this means a head scarf worn over the head and tied under the chin - but we mean the old woman underneath it! There were all kinds of these grandmothers in the fledgling Lutheran churches we visited. These women literally kept Christianity alive when the evil scourge of Communism sought to snuff out the Church. They were and are the heroins of faith who secretly passed on the Christian faith to the future generations. This hearkens back to St. Paul’s second letter to Timothy where he wrote “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure dwells in you as well” (2Tim 1:5). Almost everywhere in the Bible the Father was to be the Spiritual head of the house. But here we see that it was the mothers and grandmothers who really kept the faith going by handing it down to Timothy just like it was in Ukraine.
Another awesome passage for Mother’s Day comes from Proverbs 31. “An excellent wife, who can find? She is more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good and not harm, all the days of her life. … She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. … She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, he praises her: Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.”
Truly such verses show what a high office God has instituted for Mothers! It becomes it’s own vocation in and of itself. Caring for husband and children’s physical, mental, emotional and also spiritual needs is more than a full time job. The Mom Ministry is one of the toughest assignments God ever gave to anybody! She’s got to be as insightful as a psychologist, tough as a marine corps drill sergeant, and gentle as a nurse. She’s a manager, a teacher, an organizer, a chauffeur, a plumber, a conflict resolution specialist, a cooker, a cleaner, a chaplain, you name it, it’s all on the list! Talk about a Swiss-Army knife of a calling! To become a mother may not be all that difficult. Being a mother, on the other hand, is very much so! And yet our mothers graciously and thanklessly did all this and more out of their great love for us and their Lord Who blessed them with many blessings.
A little boy was sitting on the front steps of the house, slumped down with his face cradled in his little hands. He looked totally dishevelled and absolutely forlorn. His father came home from work just then and asked what was wrong. The little boy looked up with tears in his eyes and said “Well, just between us, Dad, I’m having trouble getting along with your wife, just like you!”
And yet, dear friends, our Lord’s Word remains. Honour your Mother and your Father. Respect them. Love them. Take care of them. Even if it is difficult. Even when it is hard. The Christian family is never immune from sin and the attacks of the evil one. Every good and perfect gift that God gives will surely be attacked by the devil, no question. We need to realize this applies to all of our human relationships and keep our own sinful nature in check. And so we seek peace. We seek forgiveness. We seek love. The same exact things our Lord Jesus gives us through His cross and resurrection.
And it is through our Lord Jesus that we see the ultimate gift: self-sacrifice for our family. It is a very Christ-like road to walk. It is the greatest display of love. In fact, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (JN 15:13). Sometimes this means a very literal giving of our lives for others. Sometimes this means sacrificing our own plans and desires for the good of someone else. When we look back at our lives, perhaps we see the many, many ways our mothers sacrificed much for us. And the only response is thanksgiving, love and respect! If they are no longer with us, we remember them. We thank the Lord for the wonderful blessing she was and the many great years we had with her. We remember with joy and thanksgiving the commandment to honor our Mother and Father in all times and places, that it may go well. Amen! Happy Mother’s Day!
Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!