Message recorded in the sanctuary at St. Luke’s United Church
What follows is a transcript of this message. (not sure I’ll do this very often but seemed appropriate for today.)
May we celebrate God’s presence and may we lift up the Holy name of God. Let’s celebrate.
It’s a day we celebrate all those women in our lives: our grandmothers, mothers, aunts. Those women who played mothering roles in our lives. For all those teachers, mentors, professors, guides, those who walked with us – we celebrate all.
One of those things I remember from all those Mother’s Day services was receiving flowers either a single carnation, a potted plant, something prepared by the Sunday School. A special gift gifts for moms. A special memory for me is when the Sunday School made hats and placed them on mom’s heads. I had two in that age group so had two hats. I remember the junior grades doing special songs with actions, handing out special cards.
Being together in church was special for Mother’s Day. Two of my girls were baptized on Mother’s Day. Remembering their baptisms is special and brings such joy. One of the ways we celebrated was with a family picnic after church. My grandmother made her special cake – in the shape of a lamb. She made that cake for each baptism. She covered the cake with coconut to make it look like wool. This is a special memory.
In our Psalm this morning we heard about God knowing us as we were being knitted in our mother’s wombs. As we have been woven into the very fabric of our lives, I picture God in other Psalms and readings where God is the mother hen protecting the brood. This idea of God’s protection is found throughout the scriptures in one way or another. The protection of the women in our lives is what we celebrate today.
For some Mother’s Day is harder. We are remembering mothers and grandmothers who are gone. Especially for those who have passed recently. May there be a special blessing for those families who are sharing Mother’s Day for the first time without their loved ones.
For many, myself included, 15 – 20 years have passed since mother and grandmother have gone. I’m fortunate enough right now to have my 2nd mom still us with us. A dear friend’s mother who was there for my brother and myself. Another group of leaders, teachers, and mentors are all still with us. And I think of them with fond memories, childhood memories. And now in ministry as I have conversations with older women and I look to them like I would to a great aunt or grandmother. There are times my heart just fills with love and appreciation.
One of the things that came to my mind this week as I was preparing for today was the idea that we share “in remembrance of Me” at the table. For many of us the Sacrament of Communion is not possible. The words are still important. We’re still reminded that when we drink of the cup and eat of the bread we remember. Isn’t that what we do when we gather around the table? Sometimes our memories aren’t great. Don’t we wish we knew then what our mothers knew all along when we thought we knew everything?
Those of us who are mothers wish we could have done this or that differently. We rely on the grace of a loving God to help us through those bitter memories. As we sit around tables today whether it’s a special lunch prepared or family have dropped off at your door, or maybe you have ordered food from the restaurant to be delivered, either way as we celebrate with our mothers or celebrate apart as we shelter in place, perhaps we can take a moment and remember the strengths we’ve received from those women. Let’s take a moment to remember those gifts.
Let’s take it a step further and remember the last meal Jesus had, while living, with his disciples. As we take the juice or our water, coffee or wine we remember Christ. As we pass around the plates of food, and break bread together let’s remember Christ.
It’s in Christ’s reflection that we give love. Its through Christ that we remember that we can be our better selves, that we can rise to be the people our mothers thought we could be but we know that God knows and we can be.
No it’s not a formal Communion around the table with the cup and the sacred words but our words of thanksgiving for the bread and the drink thanksgiving for the meat and the fruit and the pie and yes, even for the ice-cream are all sacred gifts from God for the people of God as we celebrate.
So, celebrate today. Celebrate by remembering your family. Celebrate by remembering your brothers and your sisters and what family was like.
Celebrate God’s presence in your life today around your tables, in your back yards, in your gardens. With or without each other we are created in God’s image, in God’s loving image. We are not alone. We live in God’s world. Thanks be to God. Amen.
The Inescapable God
Psalm 139: 1-18
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me.
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from far away.
3 You search out my path and my lying down,
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
O Lord, you know it completely.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is so high that I cannot attain it.
7 Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there;
if I make my bed in hell, you are there.
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light around me become night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is as bright as the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For it was you who formed my inward parts;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
that I know very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.
In your book were written
all the days that were formed for me,
when none of them as yet existed.
17 How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 I try to count them—they are more than the sand;
I come to the end[a]—I am still with you.