On Sunday, May 13, America will celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s a day we set aside every year to honor and give thanks for all mothers.
And truly we should. We thank God for the gift of mothers, for those who gifted us with life. Our mothers carried us, nurtured us, fed us, sacrificed for us, and each in their own way loved every one of us.
But even as we all have a mother we can remember and give thanks to God for, Mother’s Day is not a joyful day for every one of us. There are plenty of godly women among us who are not mothers, and maybe never will be a mother. For various reasons, there are plenty of barren women among us. Either they do not have a husband, or they do, and God has not gifted them with a child. What do we say to these women?
To them we say, “Thank you.” Because although they are painfully aware they have not been given the gift of children, they have been given other gifts. And those faithful women of God gift our church so beautifully as well.
Even as some women are not given the gift of children, they still serve as mothers in the church. They serve as god-mothers, pew mothers, aunts, Sunday school teachers, babysitters, sewing circles, LWML, church organizers, altar guild, VBS bakers, musicians, and more.
We do well to remember that just as children are a gift of God, the vocation of motherhood too is a gift. Mothers have not accomplished some achievement that we need to reward, they have been given a profound and beautiful gift. And yet all of us who are gathered around Word and Sacrament are fellow recipients of the unique gifts of our Lord.
We have, all of us, been given the gift of God’s Word. All of us have been given the gift of salvation won by Christ on the cross and given to us in our baptism. All of us have been given the gift of Christ’s body and blood, given at the altar every Sunday for all of our benefit. And we all thank God for all good gifts He mercifully pours out on us unworthy sinners. Gifts of fellowship, recreation, food, music, and more. The gift of children is just one of many.
Because really, we all celebrate the same mother, for we are all sons and daughters of the Christian Church. In this Christian Church, our “mother,” we were born out of the waters of the font. We were carried sometimes kicking and screaming into Sunday school and confirmation class. We are nurtured in Christ’s Word. We are fed at His altar. We give thanks for the sacrifice of Jesus for us. And, in similar but different ways, we are loved by our Mother the Church. And whatever other gifts we are given by our Lord, she continues to give us all the gift of Jesus.