Mothers' Day

Some years ago, on the Saturday before Mothers’ Day (which, this year, is today, 22nd March) The Glasgow Herald, as it then was, published the following ‘Poem of the Day’, entitled Mum’s the Word:

It can’t be bad just once a year
To spoil and treat your mother dear
With tea in bed or floral posy
And make her day completely rosy.
You take for granted all her fussing,
Extended freely, without cussing
The endless laundry and the noise
Of diabolic war-game toys,
The messy bedrooms, purple hair,
And teenage moods most hard to bear,
Her worry when the curfew time
Expires and you don’t give a dime,
Exams which tax her more than you
Because she knows the end in view –
That adult individual who
Emerges from the chrysalis,
Confident, competent sir or miss.
All this being so, it’s not absurd
To shout tomorrow, “Mum’s the word!”

These amusing lines may well strike a few chords re the role that mothers have, both at the giving and receiving ends, in the lives of their children. Mothers are there to care for us and see us through to the end point, when we emerge from the chrysalis. It’s a role too that the Lord Jesus performs in guarding and guiding us through our Christian journey, emerging in a sense from another chrysalis.

My own mother, for many years, liked to read the ‘In Memoriam’ section of the local newspaper to check, I suppose, on whom she knew. There seemed, as I recall, to be a limited selection of verse that could be chosen, at least in the files of
The Irvine Herald, in order to remember a loved one, and my mother’s favourite, which she used to recite to us, her children, when clearly we weren’t sufficiently recognising or respecting her role in our lives, went:

Those who have a mother
Cherish her with care
For you’ll never know her value
’Til you see her empty chair.

These words, as in the first poem, again underline and advise against taking our mothers for granted; our lack of appreciation. That same lack of appreciation can sometimes be applied by us, in our ever busy and challenging lives, to the Lord Jesus. It’s not so much the empty chair as the empty tomb that helps us to appreciate his real value, and what he has done for us.

We mark Mothers’ Day once a year but we should be grateful for our mothers, and the influence they will have had on our lives, every day. We remember Jesus’ sacrifice once a week but should be grateful for that sacrifice every day.

Today’s readings in
Psalms encourage us to praise God and to thank him in all things and at all times. In normal circumstances our Sunday service would help set the tone for that. We are, however, not living through normal circumstances and as the world, literally, faces unprecedented challenges and ever-growing uncertainty, we, as individuals, will also be challenged as we are forced to consider changes to the lifestyle that we have grown accustomed to. All of us, whoever we are, will be affected in different ways and we need to try and face these effects with equanimity. All of us – “young men and women, old men and children” (Psalm 148:12 NIV) need to try to praise God, as exhorted by the Psalmist. In all of that we will have to rely on our God for strength and support. The Psalmist equally exhorts us that “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging” (Psalm 46: 1-3 NIV). Though we may not be faced with the earth literally giving way, we do stand on the edge of major global reverberations and an appreciation and a recognition of God being our refuge and strength, and of Jesus being the way that we come to God, valuing just what the empty tomb means for us, can provide us with the comfort that we need as we move outwith our own comfort zone and into possibly increasing isolation.

We may not be able to meet as we usually do, and as we would want to, but we can be together, if not in body, certainly in spirit, remembering, as God said to Moses, “
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NIV). So, whether we’re reading this alone, or in a couple, or in a bigger group, we know that we’re never really alone and we can value and appreciate that more fully at this time.


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