Sermons

Summary: Know your own self, do what is right whether you like it or not, and go beyond the norm. It will drive your mother crazy and will call from your Father, "Well done".

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Our relationship with our mothers is at once the most wonderful and yet the most difficult of all our relationships.

We love them deeply, and we get so upset with them we almost hate them. Few of us are neutral about our mothers; we hold them close and then push them away forcefully. We get homesick for them, and when we get home, we neglect them. A wonderful, difficult relationship.

We care about what they think, and yet we rebel against them every chance we get. We need their approval, but we also need to show them how far from home we’ve gone. A wonderful, difficult relationship.

We want to be embraced and cared for by our mothers, and yet we run as hard as we can from that embrace. We need their love and yet we sneer at mother love becoming “smother love”. We pretend to be indifferent to them, but get upset if they are indifferent to us!

Our relationship with our mothers is at one and the same time the most wonderful and yet the most difficult of all our relationships.

This is true even if your mother is deceased. Mothers have the power, it seems, to reach up out of graves long sealed and shake their disapproving fingers at us! It is a strange but wonderful thing, the power of mothering.

And so today I thought I would share a strategy for dealing with your mother. What can we do to deal with all this stuff mothers do to us? What can we do that will just turn this peculiar relationship between child and parent on its end? Again, even if your mother is deceased, she likely exercises some sort of influence on you. How can we go beyond that strong but silent hold she has on us? How can you win at the guilt game? How can you drive your mother crazy?

Well, first, I want you to imagine what it must have been like to have been the mother of Jesus. If Jesus of Nazareth was this tower of perfection the church says he was, then what must it have been like to have been his mother? What did Mary experience? Let’s guess:

Never a dirty handprint on the wall? Always ate his spinach and asked for more? Never, never teased and tormented the girls in synagogue school? Got up at the crack of dawn to do his chores and pray up a well-balanced breakfast? Some paragon of platinum-plated perfection?

One of my Sunday School teachers when I was a teenager interrupted his lesson one Sunday morning and asked out loud, "I wonder what Jesus said when, in that carpenter shop, he hit his thumb with a hammer? Something like, ’Oh, dear me?!’"

Oh, get real! Get real! That is not the kind of perfection the Bible is talking about when it says that He knew no sin. One of the great claims of the Christian faith is that the very son of God came down to earth to live as we live, to touch what we touch, to feel what we feel, to be tested as we are tested. I see Jesus as a real boy, as a genuine teenager, as an authentic young adult, with all of the growing pains that that involves. And I can suspect that Mary found it very trying in many ways to be his mother. I can suspect that Jesus very nearly drove her crazy on more than one occasion!


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