Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
It's about that time, Mother's Day. And like Father's Day, or Valentine's Day, it offers a different moment for each person to reflect on love and relationships and the one who gives us both. As we reflect, we experience the range of emotions from gratitude to frustration, from wholeness to estrangement, from joy to loss. If you've ever experienced a rough Valentine's Day and wished others could understand your difficulty or loneliness in the midst of their contentment and joy, you can also relate to anyone who has struggled with days like Mother's Day because of a difficult relationship with their parents or a loss of a parent or child.
I was blessed with an amazing mother, two wonderful grandmothers, a plethora of aunts and great aunts... all were truly great... and mother figures amongst my church and friends. They not only shared their love, but their stories. And I learned a lot about what being a mother and being mothered means. And I learned at a young age that if we are all made in God's image, then an important part of who God is and how God loves us is as a mother. Passages in the Old Testament where God holds us close to God's bosom, or in Jonah when he bemoans God's compassion - literally the Hebrew compound word he uses is "womb-love," love only a mother can have for a child. Or when Christ stands above Jerusalem before Holy Week and wishes to gather them together as a mother hen gathers her chicks.
When I experience great joy in relationships, or as a son, or as a father, and when I experience great anguish, I know God has experienced those things too and experiences them in those moments with me. And so I know on days like this Sunday, we know God better through our good mothers, and we can be confident our good God loves us like those mothers. We know with full assurance that God has loved and lost, danced with Miriam and pondered with Mary, and wept with Rachel.
This Mother's Day, I hope you'll do something to support or thank a mother, maybe your own, to be aware of those for whom this day is hard, and to share your joys and struggles as a mother or caregiver or teacher that you may be. Like any holiday that honors love, I hope you'll share yours.
Prayer for Today
Lord, help me to see mothers in my life, to share my love, and to take comfort in the love God offers us all. Amen.