1 How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity! 2 It is like the precious oil on the head, running down upon the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down over the collar of his robes. 3 It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion. For there the Lord ordained his blessing, life forevermore.
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.
I decided to record the hymns for our Wednesday Hymn Sing earlier today. What I hadn’t anticipated was the unknown response of one of our cats. I’m not sure which one it was, they’re identical, but she started to meow and then popped up on the bench and started to walk on the keyboard. I easily brushed her away and I don’t think I missed a beat. I believe now that she was chasing a fly. That is her new pass-time.
Why am I writing about this? Life is ever changing and often time challenging. Each time you think you have something figured out they (who-ever they are) change the rules. A cat involves herself without provocation. Our tele-seminar decides to freeze up during bible study. The weather acts like early April and not May.
Whatever is happening in our lives we stand tall and move forward. The movement might be a crawl but still, forward. Times like these call for calm action and sometimes for inaction. We can choose to say kind words to the lap-top that’s not working or a gentle touch towards a pet that is annoying. We can choose to get out of bed, thankful for another day. We can choose to be the very best the Divine has called us to be.
Notes sung off-key and technology blimps do not stop us. The virus does not stop us. We know that, “We are not alone. We live in God’s world.” From this knowledge we can remain strong, loving, and kind.
We began with “Blessed Quietness” as we prepared our hearts for worship then joyfully sang “This is the Day”! God is good – all the time. The service concluded with “Be thou my vision”. May you be blessed.
19 Open to me the gates of righteousness,
that I may enter through them and give thanks to the Lord.
20 This is the gate of the Lord; the righteous shall enter through it.
21 I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
23 This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
24 This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25 Save us, we beseech you, O Lord! O Lord, we beseech you, give us success!
26 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord.
27 The Lord is God, and he has given us light. Bind the festal procession with branches, up to the horns of the altar.
28 You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God; I will extol you.
29 O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.