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Posts tagged ‘mother’s love’

For the Love of God

“As the Father loved me, I too have loved you. Remain in my love . . . This is my commandment:  love each other just as I have loved you.”  John 15:9 & 12 (CEB)

This Sunday, May 10, 2015, is Mother’s Day.  It is also called “Festival of the Christian Home,” and the lectionary gospel lesson is based on Jesus’ farewell discourse to his disciples.  In this part of John, time is growing short for Jesus to try to teach his disciples, and he spends time praying for them as well as instructing them on what it means to be his follower.

We may see this type of interaction in the room of a dying family member who wants to speak to everyone and can’t rest or let go until he or she has been able to see all those family members and friends who are so important in that person’s life.  When my mom died a year ago last February, she wasn’t able to say any of those things.  Her mind had been robbed of memory and the ability to interact.  Alzheimer’s Disease had stolen her interactions with her family and shut her down little by little.  And yet, when we were around her, she seemed to know that we belonged to her.  The heart somehow knows – thanks be to God!

In this passage, Jesus tells his disciples that God loved him, and he has loved them.  The next step is to love each other and others.  The focus of the New Testament message is God’s love which is manifested in Jesus and then through us as the Body of Christ who carry on his ministry in the world.

For me, God’s love is powerfully carried on through those mother’s who are loving and caring and there for their children.  If we really want to know what God’s love is like, we can think of the mother or mother-figure in our lives who gave us nurture, care, support, a shoulder to cry on, a pat on the back, discipline to help us find our way, and who would have laid down her life for us.

My mom was like that.  There were four of us siblings, and Mom was a stay-at-home mother who was there for us in thick and thin.  I’m always amazed at how lightly she slept.  Maybe mother’s have a built in radar that wakes them up when they hear their child’s voice in the dark of the night.  Many times when I’ve been in a store and a child is calling “Mommy” with panic in his or her voice, I have heard the mother call the child’s name as if miraculously knowing where the child is and reassuring them not to worry.

God is like that with us.  We may not have the same visual and physical presence of God, but when we call, it is like my mom’s answer in the middle of the night when I would call out and say that I was afraid.  Or it is like the soothing hand of my mother on my forehead when I would call out to say that I didn’t feel good.  Somehow she always answered and knew.  I’m so grateful for the love of my mother, and that love was God’s gift to me.

There is an old saying (sorry – I don’t know the source) that goes:  God couldn’t be everywhere; that’s why there are mothers.”  I believe my mother brought the love of God to me.  I hope you had someone in your life who did that for you, too.  If you are a mother or mother-figure to someone – or potentially a mother – Happy Mother’s Day!  God bless!

Good Shepherds

“[The Good Shepherd] calls his sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice.”  John 10:3b-4

This Sunday is called “Good Shepherd Sunday,” which contains the traditional lectionary scriptures from Psalm 23 and John 10:1-10.  In the United States, we aren’t terribly familiar with shepherds, particularly not the ones that would have been around during Biblical times.  The early ancestors of the faith were shepherds:  Abraham, Moses, David, and others, and their profession was seen as honorable and productive.  There was respect for the wandering nomads who cared for sheep and goats, and other livestock.

By the time of Jesus, shepherds had a rather stained reputation.  Many were isolated, had few (if any) social skills, were known to steal when they did darken the city gates, and they were a pretty tough bunch.  Most of them were hired by wealthier land owners who preferred to have someone else do the sheep herding, and the work of tending a flock wasn’t easy.  The Good Shepherds were the ones who really watched the flock and would find fresh places for them to graze, went out to find strays, and then herded them into some kind of protective area where they would be safe for the night.  The good shepherd would lie down across the entrance as if he was the gate, so if a sheep wandered that direction he could stop it or if some animal or poacher tried to get in, the shepherd would be right there to protect the sheep.  The shepherd was even willing to give his life to save the sheep.

Jesus as the Good Shepherd laid down his life for us, to save us from our sins, to give us reconciliation, forgiveness, and salvation through his death and resurrection.  He calls us to follow him, and he knows us by name and loves us enough to die for us.  I know for some folks, that is a hard concept.  There are many who just can’t believe such a thing happened.  I like to think we can find modern parables that help us understand the love of God in Christ.

Parenthood is one of the ways we can learn more about God’s love.  This Sunday is also Mother’s Day, and it is through the example and lives of GOOD mothers that we have a powerful witness to the love of God.  While there are mother’s who aren’t very good to their children, I suspect the majority are.  I don’t have biological children of my own, but I have step-children who are good parents, and I see their dedication and love for their kids.  My sister and sisters-in-law teach me about love for child and how they would do anything to protect and care for their children.

My own mother is probably the best example I have.  Besides my dad, we were the most important people in her life.  She sacrificed without complaint if it was for her children.  She often said that she would go hungry if it meant that her children could have a meal, and she did often go hungry.  She was fiercely protective, although she was also strict with us and didn’t allow us to stray too far before herding us back into the fold.

God’s love for us is like the power of a good mother’s love for her children.  There is an old saying – I don’t know the source – but it says, “God couldn’t be everywhere, and that’s why we have mothers.”  The love of God as our heavenly parent is recreated through the love of our parents who are our earthly shepherds.  I’m thankful to God for the gift of my parents and all who shepherded me throughout my life.  I hope you are, too, and remember to share that with them often.  Thanks be to God.

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