In all honesty I have to admit that holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day are holidays that I have approached with angst as a pastor. Most churches I have pastored have acknowledged these holidays in some way or another. Mother's day was always the diciest because of the way we acknowledged those in attendance. First, we would recognize the youngest mom which on many occasions was a teenage, unmarried young lady - that was certainly scandalous in rural Oklahoma. Second, we acknowledged the oldest mom present which meant we were asking ladies who typically did not want to even be asked their age to stand up in front of all their peers and celebrate that they were older than everyone else - this made me sick to my stomach most of the time. And, thirdly we recognized the woman who had given birth the most number of times. Man this was fraught with all kinds of danger.
So, we recognized youth in relationship to birth, we recognized age, and then we recognized fertility! Kind of weird, wouldn't you say? Given all the family means and all that it may not mean for some, perhaps we should recognize Mother's Day and Father's Day differently.
Today, in worship we welcomed our friends by recognizing that it was Mother's Day but then, during our prayer time, we invited people to a time of prayer. Prayer of thanksgiving for a mom who loved them and cared for them. Prayer for those for whom mom is a painful word. Prayer for those whose womb has never been able to bring life into this world. And prayer for those for whom this day is a reminder that someone is not with them today.
Mother's Day and Father's Day for Pam and I have been holidays that remind us of the physical distance between us and our parents. And now standing on the verge of being empty nesters we were both feeling somewhat down as we approached Mother's Day. So, instead of just feeling sorry for ourselves, we decided to invite a friend to lunch with us today. Our friend is a mom who recently lost her husband and has been a model of struggling towards maturity through pain. While at worship, Pam was approached by a new friend who shared with her that his mother passed away recently and this was his first Mother's Day without her, so Pam invited him to lunch with us as well.
So there we were, two middle aged empty nesters missing their moms, a widow, and a young man who lost his mom too soon. We had to introduce our friends to each other at lunch! We ate, we shared, we got to know one another better, we ate some more, and we learned a great deal about how God holds us together through loss and pain.
At the end of the day Pam and me had one of the best Mother's Days we have had in a long time. And all of this was made possible by a great God who brought us all together through the fellowship of The Harbor. All I can say to that is a humble, "Wow!"
Have a Happy Mother's Day wherever you are and going through whatever you are facing.