Luke 2:41-52 (NRSV)

I was hoping that we would all be back in church and I would be able to have a skit to start off my sermon.  However it was not to be, so I am going to read the script, but I want you to use your imaginations.  I was hoping to have Liz Verity be God, Ruth Knowles be the angel, and Jeannine Finefrock be the mother. That would have been fun.

When God created mothers:

When the Good Lord was creating mothers, He was into His sixth day of “overtime” when the angel appeared and said.  “You’re taking a lot of time on this one”.

God answered:  ‘Have you read the specs on this order?’  She has to be completely washable, but not plastic.  She has to have 180 moveable parts – all replaceable, she had to run on black coffee and leftovers, she had to have a kiss that can cure anything from a broken leg to a disappointed love affair, and she has to have six pairs of hands.”

The angel slowly shook her head and said, “six pairs of hands….no way.”

“It’s not the hands that are causing me problems said God, it’s the three pairs of eyes that mothers have to have.”

“That’s on the standard model”, asked the angel?  “Yes, said God.  One pair that sees through closed doors when she asks, “What are you kids doing in there?’ when she already knows.  “Another pair in the back of her head that sees what she shouldn’t but what she has to know, and of course the ones here in front that can look at a child when he goofs up and say, “I understand and I love you”  without uttering a word.

“God”, said the angel, “Get some rest.”

“I can’t” said God.  “I’m so close to creating something so close to myself.  Already I have one who heals herself when she is sick, can feed a family of six on one pound of hamburger, and can get a nine year old to stand under a shower.” The angel circled the model of a mother very slowly.  “It’s too soft,” she sighed.  “But tough!” said God excitedly.  “You can imagine what this mother can do or endure.”  “Can it think”, asks the angel?  “Not only can it think, but it can reason and compromise,” said the creator.  Finally the angel bent over and ran her finger across the cheek.  “There’s a leak,” she pronounced.  “I told You that You were trying to put too much into this model. “It’s not a leak,” said the Lord, “It’s a tear.”  “What’s the tear for?” the angel asked.

It’s for joy, sadness, disappointment, pain, loneliness, and pride.”

All emotions a mother will feel over and over and over.

I am focusing on mothers this morning, but this could also encompass mother figures.  There are adoptive mothers, foster mothers, grandmothers who are mothering grandchildren, teachers who do a lot of mothering during their workday.  I’m sure you can think of more.

I love being a mother and would not have traded it for anything, but I’m going to get into some of the reality of motherhood today.  Motherhood has it’s dark moments, especially for mothers who have a lot of problems that can override the joy of motherhood, such as extreme financial difficulties, an abusive husband or partner, or drug problems.

We talk about the nurturing mother and the sweetness of motherhood, but there is more to it than that.  There is that sweet, kindly woman, and then something happens and she becomes that frazzled, angry, and impatient woman.  It resembles the Jekyll and Hyde personalities who are constantly struggling within this one woman.  Sheila Kitzinger writes in her book, “Ourselves as Mothers;  “ becoming a mother is a biological process, but it is also a social transformation, and one of the most dramatic that a woman may experience.   The home is supposed to be a haven of love and good feelings.  Thus it comes as a great disappointment to many women when it proves not to be so for them.”  Disturbing isn’t it? but is there some truth to it?

Even though the Apostle Paul was not a mother, he sums up what a mother is feeling a good part of her mothering life.  He says:  “I do not understand what I do.  For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.  And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good.”  In other words, I need restrictions to keep my behavior in line.  Relating that to motherhood, there is that constant struggle inside where a good person responds to her children and then sometimes this creature comes out that we do not know and shouting matches ensue.

When I was a child there was a TV show on Friday nights called, “I Remember Mama”.  It was a family of five, the mother and father having come to America from Norway.  This was before “Leave it to Beaver”, but it was similar.  Mama was always cooking and cleaning and when any of their three children misbehaved or got into trouble, mama never lost her temper.  She always remained calm and cool and although there were consequences for the bad behavior they were dealt out lovingly.

Now I consider my mother to have been a good mother.  This was back in the days when spanking a child on occasion was not considered abuse, and I remember being spanked a couple of times, but it was a rare punishment.  She was usually pretty calm, but once in awhile that other person came out and she would yell.  When that happened, I used to think of the TV Mama and wish that she was my mama.

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When I had my own children, I realized why my mother would once in awhile let loose.  Yes, I’m saying I would do the same thing on occasion.

We all have those Jekyll and Hyde characters in us, and one or the other comes out at different times.

Children will be children and are experts at trying our patience.  Most of the time the things they do that bring out that creature in us are things that are not safe and could injure them or worse.  So we are reacting more to fear than anger in those instances.

Even Jesus gave his mother grief on a few occasions.  In Luke Chapter 2 we read about the family’s visit to Jerusalem to observe the Passover.  Jesus, was 12 years old and off he went to the Temple where he taught the adults there, while Mary and Joseph were on their way back home.  They assumed he was with family members, but when they discovered he was missing they turned around and went back to Jerusalem.  Mary says, “Son, why have you treated us lie this?  Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.”  Really???!!!!  We don’t know how calmly she spoke those words, but my picture of Mary has her being very calm and composed.  I don’t know…..maybe she wasn’t.

 

Once on a trip to Orlando, I took my boys who were then 9 and 3 to Seaworld.  We had been at the seal show and were walking to find a place to eat lunch.  I had my 3 year old by the hand and assumed the 9 year old was right behind me.  I turned around and he was gone.  I picked up Ted and started back the way we had come at a frantic pace, calling Eric’s name.  A security guard came along and I described Eric to him and he told me to stay where I was and he radioed others to join the search.  A short while later I looked up and Eric comes sauntering along like he owned the place.  I did not say to him what Mary said to Jesus.  I was crying and hugging him and yelling at him to never do that again.  I asked him where he went and he said he wanted to go back and see the seal show again but he couldn’t find it.

This was at a time when I wasn’t going to church at all and really didn’t feel God in my life.  I had a stressful job and hadn’t found ways to bring that stress to God.  Would I have reacted differently?  I don’t know but I would like to think so.

We talk all the time about times changing, and they certainly have changed since I was a child, and even since I was the mother of young children.  Everyone is so much busier now.  Mothers work outside the home, and then are constantly driving the children to practices, lessons, play dates….oh yes, then there is housework and cooking to be done.  Granted, husbands today do take on more of those duties than they used to.  But as mothers, how much time do you take in prayer, meditation, devotions?  How much time do you spend talking about Jesus and God with your children?  I really regret not spending time doing that when my children were growing up.  I’m not just talking about coming to church on Sunday mornings, but taking time every day to devote to the Lord.

God does not call you to be perfect, but He does call you to walk in His perfection.  He doesn’t call you by might or by power, but by His Holy Spirit.

If you are a mother of small children or a grandmother or an aunt or family friend, take the time to read Bible stories to children in your lives. Sing hymns with them and bring them to Sunday School.  Pray for them and with them.

Proverbs says that a mother shall lead you and be a light unto you and you will remember what your mother taught you throughout your life.  We all want our children to shine and what better way to help them shine than to be examples, ourselves, of God’s light shining through us.  A mother’s love is an example of God’s love for us.  Let us all give thanks for our mothers, today especially, but every day.

Abraham Lincoln once said, “All that I hope to be I owe to my angel mother.”

May we all be the shining lights that our mothers wanted and want us to be.

Happy Mother’s Day and may you all remember mama on this special day.

Amen.

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