Summary: Even the best mothers are concerned with the conflicting currents flowing through them. I am sure that mothers contend with more of a degree of tension when it comes to being a parent, a mother. Then the Lord brought to mind, Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there. This is your special day. But for some reason, when pastors across the country are asked about their Mother’s Day sermon, the largest consensus admits that a Mother’s Day sermon is the hardest of all sermons to put together. I’m not exempt from that number either. I wondered why that is. For those that like to follow along in their Bibles, Luke 1 & 2.
With the stay home policy in place now, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands so I started searching the Bible to get some numbers. There are over 154 women mentioned in the Bible in over 350 passages. Many, and probably most, of these women were mothers. So surely there should be plenty to talk about.
Why is it so difficult for pastors of all ages to preach Mother’s Day sermons? My hunch is it has nothing to do with faulty relationships with their mothers. It has more to do with two realities: a) They don’t want to get all sentimental and just preach a “how wonderful is motherhood” sermon, and yet are not clear what to do; and b) They are mostly men writing these sermons.
One pastor told of how his granddaughter was the one who reminded him of this. He told this story: I was pushing my 8-year-old granddaughter Abby in the swing in her front yard. She and her twin Erin had been learning about childbirth from their mother. Abby was not liking what she was learning. “I’m not going to have children, Grandpa,” she said. “It hurts too bad.”
My first thought was to say, “If your mother felt that way, you wouldn’t be here. And if your great-grandmothers felt that way, none of us would be here.” But what I said was, “You’re right. It does hurt. But the pain goes away, and you’re left with this beautiful child, and you decide that it was worth it.” The child looked me square in the eyes and said, “You’re a man. What do you know?”
He said, “After picking myself up off the grass, I laughingly admitted she was exactly right—all I know on this subject is what I’ve been taught. Let’s admit the obvious here: This is one experience where we men are on the outside looking in. We men are out of our league trying to assess what mothers go through and the challenges they face.
As I was thinking and praying about which direction to go today, I started thinking about all the challenges that mothers go through. Sure, dads go through a lot these challenges as well, but it seems that mothers take things more to heart. Even the best mothers are concerned with the conflicting currents flowing through them. I am sure that mothers contend with more of a degree of tension when it comes to being a parent, a mother.
Then the Lord brought to mind, Mary, the mother of Jesus.
First of all, she bore the Son of God in her womb. Let’s read from that familiar passage that usually is only read around Christmas time. Luke 1: 26-35; 37-38. READ. What a privilege it was to be chosen by God to be the mother of His Son. What an honor to become the mother of the Promised Messiah.
Yes, what a privilege and what an honor but at the same time, what a burden. You know there was suspicion when Mary started to show from her pregnancy. You know there had to be rumors from the family and the neighbors. She was not married at the time. What an atrocity. In that day, she could have been stoned for being pregnant out of wedlock.
Joseph could easily have walked away from the relationship, knowing that this child was not his. But he stuck by her side. Do you realize that they were still not married at the time of Jesus’ birth? READ Luke 2: 4-7. What a burden Joseph must have been carrying. But Mary knew and remembered what the angel had told her. She would give birth to the Son of God. So, no matter how heavy the burden, this mother, carried our Messiah to full term and gave birth.
We need also to remember that Mary didn’t have the luxuries of having the baby in a well-equipped delivery room at the hospital. She brought forth this special child in the City of David, Bethlehem and did so in a stable a long way from home. Such motherly dedication to fulfill her responsibility.
And then, when Jesus was 8 days old, they take Him to the temple to be blessed, to offer a sacrifice to God, and to have Jesus circumcised as was the tradition. Imagine the emotions Mary must have felt when her child is blessed by Simeon and Anna in the Temple and hearing Simeon speak of God’s great role for this Child, but then, at the same time, learning that a sword will pierce her own heart.