Summary: Preached in 1989. The Holy Spirit, like mothers, is stubborn. He will accomplish what He sets out to do, as mothers do not abandon their children; so we must not give up on each other but must become motherlike.
There’s just something about mothers -- they are without a doubt the stubbornest people on God’s green earth.
Mothers are stubborn, mothers stick with it, mothers stay with something until the cows come home. Mothers are persistent, mothers are consistent ... I think I said it best at the beginning ... Mothers are stubborn.
Can I get an amen from the youth pews in the back?
Mothers will get on your case and never get off it ... they are stubborn. Mothers, like my mother, will tell you over and over again that you are stubborn, which only proves how stubborn they are for continuing to say it!
I just believe that mothers are the most consistent, predictable, stay with it species that God ever made. We have a bird’ s nest right outside our basement door ... and every time I go out that door, there is the rustle of wings, and I have to duck down ... but as soon as I leave, here comes mother bird, right back to her nest. And meanwhile we are serenaded by the awfulest angry squawking you ever heard. But she’ll be back; she will be back, because she’s a mother! Mothers are stubborn!
And you know what? We can thank God that they are! Where would we be if they weren’t?
The police go out and arrest a drug dealer. He’s been making all kinds of trouble in the community he’s been working havoc on everybody for blocks around, and the whole neighborhood breathes a sigh of relief when he’s finally put away ... and his mother says, Well, he’s made some mistakes, he’s not all that he might be, but he’s my baby... I’m going to fight for him. Mothers just don’t give up.
Sad to say, all too often marriages break up and couples split ... but who is that as often as not walks out of the house? The father does ... I agree not always voluntarily, but he’s the one who usually ends up leaving ... and the kids are kept by whom? By mother. Because mothers just will not abandon their children, mothers will not give up, mothers persist, mothers are stubborn.
There’s an old folk wisdom saying to the effect that a son’s a son ‘til he takes a wife, but a daughter’s a daughter all of her life. Permit me to change that ... permit me to alter that to fit the case this morning. I’d have to say that a mother’ s a mother all of her life. A mother’s a mother, all of her life, she just won’t quit.
I enjoy reading Mell Lazarus’ comic strip “Mama” in the morning papers. “Mama,” as you may know, has three grown children, all of whom she thinks neglect her, fail her, disappoint her, and ... her favorite word, aggravate her … in a thousand ways. But the thing is that Mama cannot forget about them and go her own way ... no, she has to keep on being Mama. She calls Francis at his bachelor pad at 7am to remind him that he needs to go out and get a job to replace the one he quit because they actually expected him to work. She pushes Marylou at an assortment of doctors and dentists and other eligible and promising men, only to follow Marylou on her dates to make sure not too much happens. And she keeps a room with Teddy bears and baseball gloves ready for Thomas, her married son, just in case he comes to his senses and leaves his sloppy wife and remembers that he is first and foremost Mama’s boy.
Mothers are – what? Stubborn! Mothers don’t give up.
But guess what ... so is God! So is our mothering/fathering God. The Spirit of our God won’t give up. Our God as the Holy Spirit chooses to stay with us, hang in there with us, get stubborn with us. The Holy Spirit is the persistence of God ... a God who as father created us ... a God who as Jesus Christ became our brother, God with us for a moment of history … but God the Holy Spirit is really a mother God who just won’t give up on us. Remember how Jesus said, “I will send you the spirit, and the spirit will be with you forever?” The spirit-mother God is the stubbornness of God.
Now don’ t be upset about this mother language I am using about God the Holy Spirit. Don’t read me out because I’ve said that. I do not intend to replace prayer to God the Father. After all, Jesus himself called God Father and I can’t do any better than to follow Jesus. But I find it strange and wonderful on this Mother’s Day, which is also Pentecost Sunday, that there are feminine images of God in the Bible, mother images of God, and they seem to have to do with the Spirit …the Holy Spirit, that way of God being God which emphasizes God’s staying with us, keeping on our case ... I don’t think it’s wild at all to think about a Mother Spirit God ... because when we do so we are really trying to see what it means to have a God who will not give up on us.