It is true that there are lovely Christmas carols that poetically describe Mary and the birth of Jesus. Somehow, I am reluctant to have my congregation belt out Christmas carols in May. It could be done, but it just doesn’t seem right.
Besides his mother, Jesus had a number of important women followers — the other Marys, Martha, the Samaritan woman at the well and others that he healed. Lydia, Dorcas and Priscilla played vital roles in helping the early church grow. It is very rare indeed to find a hymn that includes any of these women.
We can go back even further in the Bible and find women whose lives would create interesting lyrics. Eve, Sarah, Miriam, Rahab, Deborah, Hannah, Ruth and Esther would just begin to name women who we could include in our hymns. We learn about them as children in Sunday school, but their stories do not find their way into our hymnals.
The Israelites were reminded over and over not to allow their sons to marry foreign wives. The modern biblical scholar wonders why. The issue at stake was the faith in which the children would be raised. All those years ago, it was recognized the important role mothers played in nurturing the faith of the whole household.
Mother’s Day, for those of us who grew up in Christian homes, is a time we remember with great fondness the virtues our moms instilled in us. Our mothers were the ones who first incarnated God’s love for us. Our mothers modeled living godly lives.
How are some of the ways we remember our moms?
It was our mothers who rocked us, carried, hugged and kissed us. A mixture of patience, kindness, understanding, discipline, industriousness, purity and love is needed to raise children. They are the one who were always there for us with a sense of humor, sense of joy or wonder, and a giving spirit. Mothers juggled schedules, were present at all important events, sewed, fed and clothed us. We learned peacemaking, music, games and laughter at their sides. Our mothers loved us, watched us grow and then sent us proudly out into the world.
God’s love is so amazing, we struggle to find the words for what it is like. Maybe remembering our mothers could be a good place to begin to find understanding.
All I am saying is that there is a rich ground for Christian songwriters that has gone largely untapped. I wish for you a happy Mother’s Day.
The Rev. Kevin Campbell is pastor of Federated Methodist-Presbyterian Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.