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Sermon for Fifth Sunday of Easter – Red May Laban

MOTHER’S DAY 2020 – 10 May

A warm welcome to our Mother’s Day Service. 

I give you the Easter Greeting :

Alleluia Christ is Risen.

He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

The Lord be with you.  

And also with you,

We listen to the Song of Mary : Tell out my soul the greatness of the Lord 

In the Name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. AMEN

I dedicate this Mother’s day  sermon to my late mother, Paripurnam Laban- whose life was marked by selfless love, humility and great devotion to God.

At the moment, we are in midst of a global pandemic and we are on Lockdown. This means that this year is not going to be as traditional as all the years we have known. There will be no visits, no hugs and kisses and no family lunches and picnics.

Therefore, it is an emotional time for many people.

We remember the words of the Prophet Simeon in the Temple, warning Mary of the sorrow that was to come.  A sword will pierce your own soul too.”

These are fitting words for our world today when so many of us are fearful about daily life, about the coronavirus,  about our “new normal “ lives, and the kind of  world that might emerge at the end of it all.  

We have seen pictures on television -of lonely people in care homes and hospitals, dying alone and being buried without any family member being present.

So we thank God today that we can celebrate the gift of Mothers in this Service.

The following is a child’s conversation with God in heaven.

A child asked God, They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless

God said : Your Angel will be waiting for you and will take care of you.

The child asked : But tell me here I don’t have to do anything- I only sing and smile to be happy.

God said : Your Angel will sing for you and will also smile for you.  And you will feel your Angel’s love and be very happy.

Again the child asked : And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me if I don’t know the language ?

God said : your Angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear and with much love and care. Your Angel will teach you how to speak

And the child asked: what am I going to do if I want to talk to you God:

God said : Your Angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray

And the child asked:  who will protect me: And God said “ Your Angel will defend you even if it means risking her life.

At that moment there was much peace in heaven but voices from the earth could be heard and the child quickly asked : God if I am to leave now please tell me my Angels’ Name And God said :you will simply call her Mummy !

Motherhood is a gift from God. It is a high and holy calling, blessed and honoured by the Creator of the Universe.

Mothers are soft voices saying, “I love you.” And mothers are a link to God, a child’s first impression of God’s love.

That is why today is very special – because we recognise that a mother’s love is probably the closest example we have to God’s love.

It is a love that goes through the valley of the shadow of death to bring life into being.

It is a love that sacrifices itself over and over again and would even dare to lay down her life for her children.

Anna Jarvis- in America first suggested the national observance of an annual day honouring all mothers.

At a memorial service for her mother on 10th May 1908, Anna Jarvis gave a carnation (her mother’s favourite flower) to each person who attended the service.

Within the next few years, the idea of a day to honour mothers gained popularity. 

On the 9th of May 1914, by an act of Congress, President Woodrow Wilson/ proclaimed the second Sunday in the month of May as Mother’s Day.

He established the day as a time for “public expression of love and reverence for the mothers of the country.  Since that time there has always been a “Mother’s Day,”

They say it takes a village to raise a child. God gives us many mothers.

Think of all the women who mothered you, who shaped your life. who taught you and nurtured you.

We are reminded of the Jewish Proverb :

God could not be everywhere physically-
and therefore he made mothers.

We all have at least one thing in common with everyone else in the world. We all have or had mothers.

Let’s face it- all our mothers in every generation have taught us the following :

 Our Mothers taught us TO THINK AHEAD: “If you don’t pass your spelling test, you will never get a good job!”
Our Mothers taught us TO MEET A CHALLENGE: “What were you thinking? Answer me when I talk to you. And when we answer her- she says ..Don’t you dare talk back to me!”
Our mothers taught us about GENETICS: “You are just like your father!”.”

Our mothers taught us about the WISDOM OF AGE: “When you get to be my age, you will understand,”

 Our mothers taught us about ANTICIPATION: “Just wait until your father gets home.”
• Our mothers taught us about RECEIVING: “You are going to get it when we go home.”
• Our mothers taught us RELIGION: “You better pray that the stain will come out of the carpet.”
Our Mothers taught us FORESIGHT: “Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you are in an accident.”
• Our mothers taught us about the science of OSMOSIS: “Shut your mouth and eat your food!

Our mothers taught us about The WEATHER: “It looks as if a tornado swept through your room.”
Our mothers taught us THE CIRCLE OF LIFE: “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.”

Our mothers taught us about ENVY: “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do!”
• And the all-time favourite thing our mothers taught us is JUSTICE:One day you will have children and I hope they turn out just like you. Then you will see what it is like!

For many people -Mothers’ Day is a beautiful time to remember and celebrate the woman who have given birth nurtured their children, and left a profound legacy of love for God.

And yet, this day is not always that simple. It’s a day of joy  but for some it is also a day of pain.

It is a day of celebration, but for some it is also a day of longing and grief.

Some women are longing to have their first child.

Some mothers are grieving for a wayward child or the death of a child.

Some women have bad memories of their mothers.

Our mothers are not perfect. We shouldn’t expect them to be.  There are no perfect mothers, just as there are no perfect children. 

No one deserves a special day all to herself more than Mothers today.

The great author : Washington Irving  said :

A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials, heavy and sudden, fall upon us;

when adversity takes the place of prosperity, when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine, desert us ,when troubles thicken around us still will she cling to us, and endeavour by her kind precepts and wisdom to dissipate the clouds of darkness and cause peace to return to our hearts.

A Mother has a very important task –that is to ensure that her children are part of the Kingdom of God.

A wise man once described a mother as a woman who combines the practical and the spiritual into a way of life.

A mother wipes little noses, mends little clothes, washes little faces, and points little eyes to the stars and little souls to the eternal things of God.”

The challenge to ALL MOTHERS today is : What good is it if our children are successful in making money and driving top of the range cars and living in big homes but they don’t know God? What does it matter if they gain the whole world, but lose their souls?

Monica, the mother of St. Augustine prayed for him every day for thirty years-for his conversion. He lived a worldly life of wine, women and song – he had no morals.

But her prayers were so powerful that he eventually became a Bishop and was one of the greatest teachers in the Early Church. 

I hope that in the heart of every mother here this morning- there is a burden to go to the throne of God and pray for your children.

God says to us : Honour your Mother.

If your mother is alive , be sure to let her  know that she is special… that you really appreciate her.

Because when we lose this sense/ of motherhood as God’s gift we lose our humanity.

To the men   love your wife and your mother as Christ loved the church. 
Give off yourself /not as “the husband” or as “the son” but more deeply -as a servant of Jesus Christ. 
   

If you have been hurt by your mother, then let this be a day of reconciliation and peace.

 Let the Blood  of Jesus Christ  heal your wounds. 

Jesus gave us the best example – when He hung on the Cross –He still cared for His mother

In the Gospel of St. John Chapter 19 Verses  26-27 we read :   

When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple John whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”

27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

So today we too- place into the hands of God – all our mothers-living and departed.  AMEN

THE BLESSING :  

May the blessing of the God of Abraham and Sarah,

The Blessing of Jesus -the  Son born of Mary

The Blessing of the Holy Spirit who broods over us as a Mother over her children

Be with you all, now and for ever. Amen

Go in peace to love and serve the Lord, Alleluia, Alleluia

In the Name of Christ. Amen  Alleluia, Alleluia.

We listen to our closing Hymn : What a Friend we have in Mother