Mother’s Day message 14th May 2017
Mother’s day means so much too so many people; personally I see mother’s day and father’s day as a great opportunity to celebrate parenthood and to focus on the love of God the Father. In the western world, mother’s day has its origins within the Christian church.
Mother’s day celebration is attributed to a lady by the name of Anna Marie Jarvis; the first mother’s day service was celebrated on 20th April 1887.
Born on the 1st May 1864 her mother was Ann Reeves Jarvis was a social activist, founder of Mothers’ Day Work Clubs, and a unifying force within her community during the American Civil War Ann was friends with Julia Ward Howe, who had first advocated in 1870 for the idea of a Mother’s Day as a call for mothers throughout the world to work together for peace. As a woman defined by her faith, she was very active within the Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church community. It was during one of her Sunday school lessons in 1876 that her daughter, Anna Jarvis, allegedly found her inspiration for Mother’s Day, as Ann closed her lesson with a prayer, stating: “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.” ? Ann Reeves Jarvis.
On May 10, 1908, three years after her mother’s death, Anna Marie Jarvis held a memorial ceremony to honour her mother and all mothers at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church.
Jarvis valued the symbolism of such tangible items as the white carnation emblem, which she described as: Its whiteness is to symbolize the truth, purity and broad-charity of mother love; its fragrance, her memory, and her prayers. The carnation does not drop its petals, but hugs them to its heart as it dies, and so, too, mothers hug their children to their hearts, their mother love never dying.
Jarvis struggled against forces of commercialization that overwhelmed her original message. [Excerpt from Wikipedia]
It is not unusual to see the Christian Church celebrating or setting aside time to commemorate mother’s day.
But our society is changing, attitudes are changing- the idea of family and parenthood – how to bring children up-the idea of gender all these things are experiencing a revolution in our society. And for some of us it is unsettling!
Anna Jarvis struggled with the commercialism of Mother’s day as she experienced some of those changes.
I recently read where a school in Canada decided that it will no longer celebrate Mother’s Day or Father’s Day as it may isolate a small percentage of its students the school didn’t want them to feel displaced or embarrassed. Think what you may it is obvious that for some it is an important issue.
• Is the idea of family, cultural or a Biblical concept or maybe both?
• Is the idea of family some big con job or conspiracy to trap free thinking people, or is it a ploy of the advertising giants to make a financial killing?
• The cynic might well say that this family thing is a conspiracy designed to repress true sexuality and freedom.
As Christians we are left with a dilemma, one that will always divide and cause great conflict and concern.
Some feel strongly about what they see as political issues and the separation of state and church.
While others see that there is nothing that is not under the Christian doctrine.
I must admit that I often cringe at both positions. What is a Christian to do in this current political and social climate?
Personally I fall back to my default position.
“When all else fails try reading the makers instructions.”
Unfortunately there are those who would like to make drastic changes to the maker’s instructions bringing doubt to their clarity with new knowledge.
What is one to do?
Again I would go back to my default position. “When all else fails try reading the makers instructions.”
It was C. S. Lewis who said:
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
I am sure that many a Christian has said or thought of this over the years.
As a young man in my late teens I asked my father for his blessing, I wanted to go into Bible college, having been brought up Greek Orthodox, seeking to apply as a student at a Protestant Bible College this was a big deal and it could have gone so wrong, Dad being much wiser than I had given him credit, asked an important question: ‘if I do not will you still go?’ I thought about it of a second or two, and said ‘probably’, he then said, ‘you have my blessing’, He then followed up with the following:
There is one word of advice that I want to give you as you leave home. Yes dad I said, his reply was short and simple and alas I did not follow his advice.
He said: – Don’t talk about politics, sex or religion and you will do well in life.
Wether we like it or not politics does have a vital impact on each one of us, it is important for Christians to be at least politically literate. In saying this I do not believe that the church is the place to advertise any political party, years ago when I stood as an independent for local elections I didn’t mention this from the pulpit, I didn’t solicit the congregation in their support. But I did stir them to vote and to prayerfully consider their vote.
Our sexuality is also vital. God made us He knew what He was doing. Are Christians experts on sexuality NO! There will always be more to learn. Again the Bible is helpful and instructive.
What I believe to be a tragedy is when the Bible is reinterpreted to fit into our present cultural thinking instead of interpreting or viewing life from a biblical perspective.
There is much happening today that some would call the sexual revolution, is it a revolution or the rehashing of the very things that brought the fall of many a civilisation?
And religion, wow if Christianity is wrong we have nothing to lose, if it is right, we have a lot to gain. You cannot go wrong in life if you embrace the teachings of the Lord Jesus- you can go one step better if you embrace the Lord Jesus as personal Lord and Saviour.
What am I struggling to say today?
The Bible says that:-
“He made them male and female”.
• It teaches us about life, love, morals and ethics, it points us to the Lord Jesus and new life in Him.
• It doesn’t sugarcoat the problems that we may face, nor does it encourage us to escape from life or from each other.
• The Word of God challenges our very existence, and it is interesting to see that thousands have given up their lives so we can have a copy of the Bible in our hands.
• The Word of God is more than a written history or instruction manual for it points to the living Word, the Lord Jesus.
It is possible that we may never get everything right, and our judgement and attitudes may falter along the way. This is why it is important to go back to the makers instructions.
I believe that the maker has a lot to say about family, and human dignity.
For Example: when it comes to marriage, family, children parenting there is much in the scriptures.
There is much about human dignity, love, care, respect and so on.
I suppose one of the difficulties I have is what do you do when others hold an opposing view?
Do you jump up and down, and call hell fire and brimstone upon them getting on one’s soapbox and letting them have it!
Or do you leave it in God’s hands? I like the latter.
I thank God for the order of things, even if we get it wrong at times.
I thank God for parenthood, and for the wonderful responsibility of being able to influence a young life for the better.
I thank God that he is called Father and as a father his love never ever fails.