A Happy Mother's Day? Maybe you'll decide that!

Proclaim Sermons
Homily: Mother's Day
May 12, 2024
Reproduced with Permission
Proclaim Sermons

Summary: Often times, in the typical family, the loftiest intentions and hopes we hold fall apart the most dramatically at crucial and significant times Mother's Day can be like that. Set aside the flowers or corsages or chocolates or cards we may present mother on her day - for a moment, and let's spend some down-to-earth moments on what Mother's Day can actually be like, and our part in making that happen. Perhaps, beyond the "Happy Mother's Day" wishes we impart, whether it is or is not happy for her will depend to a large extent, on us - on you!

"A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies ... she speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction are on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household ... Her children arise and called her blessed; her husband also praises her; 'Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.' Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised..."

Omit the usual Mother's Day disclaimers

In this Mother's Day sermon, we are intentionally going to omit the usual disclaimers about observing the day with less than wholehearted endorsement and enthusiasm. Almost every sermon you will hear or read about this day expresses caution; advises reservation; approaches the topic with something less than total endorsement. We aren't even going to discuss the manifold possible reasons for this, except to add the one we've never seen addressed: The preacher's own discomfort about stepping on toes or offending someone without first making some disclaimers. Mother's Day is in! Moms are God's idea!

Our Lord and Creator will take full credit for the institution of motherhood. On this 108th observance of the day, let's devote ourselves, instead, to the practical response of our hearts and lives to God's institution, attempting to evaluate if ours, currently, is just a "house" or, hopefully, a "home" wherein the love of Christ dwells and is lived out.

Sample scenes from everyday life

Let's take a look behind the drapes/blinds into potential, typical scenes from any of our homes.

The scene is this morning. A group of Christians are gathered in church on a lovely May Sunday. The Congregation has heard a most eloquent reading from the Scriptures about womanhood and motherhood. The spoken and unspoken assumption is love. Most of the folks present will have a more loving and kindly look on their faces as they leave church.

Then upon leaving church, the loving "Jones" family heads for the family automobile to motor to a favorite restaurant to give mom a day off and show her special love.

As they approach the auto, Billy and Susy begin to argue over who will get to sit where when they reach the car. The argument escalates into a pushing and put-down contest. It gets pretty nasty, and dad lets out a verbal reminder that they should be able to contain their selfishness - at least for this special day. They hear it, but that's all! By the time they arrive at the restaurant, the sibling-bout is so intense and has everyone so frayed, that mom thinks to herself, "Lord, I'm glad this day only comes once a year, because the day only magnifies my hurt and disappointment over the lack of love my children have for each other."

Scene Two; the same day

The ever-loving, always-considerate "Jones" family finally arrives at the favorite restaurant, and to their chagrin, they discover there are thirty to forty people waiting to be served. This time it's dad's patience that is tried as he thinks, "But I thought ahead and made reservations!" Holding out hope that they will be put at the front of the line because, after all, "I made reservations," dad approaches the hostess and says, "Jones, family of five." The hostess looks on her chart, scans down with her finger, then looks up and says, "It will be about thirty-five to forty minutes, Sir."

And dear dad turns beet red, his lips quiver, and the whole family recognizes what this is a prelude to: Dad losing his cool! Mom recognizes, too, but privately hopes that maybe dad will be able to do what the kids weren't able to in the car: Be loving, patient, and less-than-usual selfish. Just for today, at least.

That hope quickly dissolves when dad, in front of everyone, but directed at the hostess, says in a thundering voice, "But we have reservations for 12:30! What the heck kind of joint is this, anyway?"

Apparently, love and patience don't apply if you made reservations! And so it's mom, again, on her day, who quickly rallies her strength and peace-making talents and tries to settle dad down, placate the kids (who were privately glad dad let the hostess have a piece of his mind because they're hungry) and apologizes to the hostess. BUT SHE CAN'T HELP THINKING IN HER HEART THAT NO MATTER WHAT THE PASTOR SAID IN CHURCH AND WHOSE DAY IT IS, she's glad-to-the-Lord Mother's Day only comes once a year, because it only seems to magnify her hurt and disappointment over the lack of love and patience she sees in the whole family - this time orchestrated by dad.

Scene three: same day

Their dinner time is irreparably damaged and the familial spirits dampened, because after all, once an evil spirit sets in, it does NOT evaporate or even dissipate on its own, so mom holds out hope that maybe the rest of "her special day" will be a little more harmonious and bring her a little more joy and gladness.

Things are very quiet in the car on the way home, and as they silently approach the front steps, lo and behold, there is the next potential source for armed conflict. There, in all of its innocence, lies the Sunday Paper, with its expanded comic section!

Immediately the typical Sunday scenario races through mom's mind, and her heart skips a beat as she projects forward to just ten seconds from now: One Sunday Comic section and three people who like the "funnies" the best. What shall be, she wonders?

This time she refuses to set herself up for the best, because after all, so far, anticipating and hoping for manifestations of the love and patience and selflessness she has modeled and embodies haven't shown their faces even on this, her day. And so, ten seconds later, with the Sunday Paper lying there innocently on the front steps ... (Pause)

Many scenes later: same day

... And so, the ten seconds elapse, and do you know what happened in and amongst the Jones family? I'm not going to finish this scene for you, because it may well be in your control to write the conclusion to this scene by WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO AND HOW MUCH YOU ARE ABLE TO RESTRAIN THE "ME-FIRST" INSTINCT IN YOU (AND ALL OF US!) AND BE A KIND AND LOVING PERSON, - the kind mom is!!

There will be many situations and scenarios as the rest of this day is played out, and you may well have it within your influence and example to write just how they turn out. The notable, countable, demonstrable difference amongst the family in which the Spirit of Jesus Christ lives is that they are able to love and forgive and show patience and kindness to one another by summoning the power of the Christ who lives in them. When St. Paul says, "I can do all things through him who strengthens/enables me ..." that includes calling upon that power and strength in specific situations-even-and maybe especially-on this, Mom's Day!

Conclusion: Same family, same life together -There is a wonderful woman I know who offers, as helps, enablers, in the

Heat of the conflicts which are bound to arise in every family. One that seems especially timely and relevant to the theme and track we have taken in this Mother's Day message comes to play WHEN...

WHEN each member of the family counts its own needs and desires and impulses as the most important, someone usually wins and someone usually loses -at least for that moment. Should it be the possible battle over the Sunday "Funnies," (which we are going to let you write), when the one who wanted the "funnies," as much as anyone, but didn't get them, that loser almost inevitably comes to mom and says, "Billy got the "Funnies" first again; and he shoved me; and I fell down, and he got them first last Sunday ..."

Mother, in her kindness and modeled-wisdom and patience, will gently turn and say to the one who lost 'that one': "Dear one, when you get to heaven, God is, not going to ask you what kind of person Billy was; He's going to ask you what kind of person you were..."

What kind of person are you? The forgiveness and grace of God in Christ, when it lives and empowers each of us, can make not only for a happier Mother's Day, but a family in which Christ lives, and "... each one counts the other's needs ahead of his/her own."