“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!