Wednesday, May 9, 2012–No two mothers are alike. Some are “domestic goddesses,” others have no homes to keep. Some run marathons, others have no legs (and some mothers “run” marathons in wheelchairs). Some mothers are warm and loving, others are so wounded that they lash out in abuse. Some mothers have physically given birth to children from their own bodies; other women have given birth to children through their teaching, guidance, wisdom, and nurturing and so are mothers too.

Just as there are many different kinds of mothers, so Mother’s Day has many different meanings to different people. For some it is yet another day to celebrate and thank the woman who has given birth to them, though they don’t really need a national holiday to tell them to do that. For others, it is a day of memories of a mom now departed. For women who have never physically given birth to children, Mother’s Day can be a painful reminder of a dream never fulfilled. For families where relationships have a long history of strain and stress, Mother’s Day can feel like a fraud.

In the United Church of Christ, this day is called “Festival of the Christian Home” in an attempt to give space to this wide variety of meanings. The church has all too often romanticized motherhood, even saying it is the primary, if not only, suitable role for women to take, and so caused great pain for those who have not fit into that mold. “Festival of the Christian Home” is a good place to start, but the “Mother’s Day”messages from our culture are pretty overwhelming.

“As a mother comforts her child, so I will comfort you,” God says through the prophet Isaiah. God, who is beyond names and words, is Mother and Father and so much more. “Abba,” Jesus called God, which in Aramaic means Daddy but also Source of the Radiance and Creative Breath. The relationship between God and us is as intimate as our breath, as intimate as a child suckling at a mother’s breast. And God, like a good mother, also nurtures and encourages us to grow into our own strength and maturity, free to act and live as we choose, while containing that “DNA” within us.

Held within that great Heart of Love are all mothers of children and all children of mothers, which pretty much covers us all. That is to be celebrated and honored with each breath, each moment, not just one day a year.

“Now thank we all our God with heart and hands and voices, Who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices; Who from our mothers’ arms has blessed us on our way With countless gifts of love and still is ours today.

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