CLERGY CORNER: . . . and that’s what mothers do

Posted on 31 May 2018 by LeslieM

Yes, I know Mother’s Day was a week or so ago, but it’s never too late, or the time is never inappropriate, to write a few words about our mothers. Their day brings to mind past memories and present realities like few other days; some bring joy and some bring sorrow. However we may think of our mothers, one thing is for sure, no matter how many mothers there are in the world, each one was made special by our God. The pages of his Bible are filled with a wonderful assortment of mothers whose stories invite us to take another look at our own mothers who taught us with their tears, with their humor, and with their love.

First, our mothers are often the storytellers in our families. They may not write anything down but they make certain our family heritage, traditions and beliefs are orally transmitted from generation to generation. The world of the Bible was a male-dominated world, but just beneath the surface was a world in which women played a vital teaching role. We see this in Second Timothy when Paul tells us that Timothy, from childhood, was taught by his mother and grandmother. This custom continues to the present day. We can experience the beauty of this custom if we listen to Dvořák’s Songs My Mother Taught Me. No English translation of the lyrics does justice to the original German, which tells the story of a mother, who tearfully tells her children the stories her mother taught her. I recommend Renée Flemings’ glorious rendition.

Second, our mothers often use humor to teach us, when they can’t get through to us, in any other way. The Bible tells the story of a woman who came to Jesus and sought a cure for her daughter who was plagued by an evil spirit. She was turned away because she was a Canaanite and not a child of Israel. She was undeterred and obtained the blessing she sought by using a somewhat humorous tactic. She replied to Jesus, “Yes Lord, but even family pets eat the crumbs that fall from the table of children.”

This story reminds me of an interview between a reporter and a prominent politician. The reporter asked who made the important decisions in the family. Without a moment’s hesitation, the politician responded that he made all the important decisions; but then, he looked questioningly at his wife and asked: “But honey, why in 25 years of marriage, have you never asked me to make any important decisions?” Her only response was a sly grin. As far as that Canaanite woman is concerned, I don’t know who her husband was, but, like the politician, he must have been putty in her hands.

Lastly, and in this, our mothers sometimes succeed and sometimes fail. They are charged by God to model the love He brought into the world. There is no end of instances in the Bible that show the primacy of love, whether to our God, our neighbor or ourselves. But on Mother’s Day, it is a good way to honor our mothers, by looking at the ways they modeled love for us. I remember a number of years ago we planned a family vacation at a lovely resort. We told our two girls they could each bring a friend to keep them company. When I was ready to zip up our suitcases, my wife came with her arms filled with stuffed animals for the girls. I was floored, “Darling, where do you think we can pack all those stuffed animals?” I don’t remember the details, but when we got to the resort and opened the suitcases, out popped those stuffed animals. You see, my darling had repacked everything until she found room. She knew what she was doing and she was right. She knew the girls would be sleeping in a strange place, with strange shadows and sounds, and would need something familiar to cuddle when they went to bed. I packed with my head and with reason, my darling packed with her heart and with love . . . she was a mother . . . and that’s what mothers do.

Rev. M. Tracy Smith, SSA, Rector is from the Saint Peter’s Anglican Church, 1416 SE 2 Terr., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. For more information, call 954-695-0336. Wednesday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m., Sunday: Holy Communion at 10 a.m.

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