“God, Motherhood, and Delight”
I learned very quickly in my ministry that Mother’s Day, although not a religious celebration may be one of the most holy of days in the church. Today, actually has another focus, it is the Celebration of the Christian Home.” I decided to focus on this one year, figuring it would acknowledge mothers as part of the home and family, but what a mistake. Women that had always given me hugs barely spoke to me that day. It was their day, celebrating their life’s vocation, highlighting their special place and role and I only gave it passing notice. Never again.
But the reason I did was trying to be sensitive that as joyful as this day is for many, it is one of the most painful for others. In one of my first appointments, I had a woman come to me the Sunday before Mother’s Day to tell me she would not be in church the following week. She said, “I never come on Mother’s Day,” for as wonderful as my life has been, Mother’s Day reminds me of my deepest sadness. I wanted a family, but was never able to have one. Today can be painful for many who never lived their dream, or who have lost a child. There are many reasons why this day can be painful, so I believe that today, as much as any day in the year, we live the fullness of what we say every week. We come to celebrate life with those who are experiencing joy, and we come to love and support and encourage each other in our times of hurt. Today, I believe we are called to be the church in the fullness of the lives around us.
Today, I want to celebrate the ideals we lift up and associate with a mother’s love, for I believe they are the foundation for all good relationships, and that they especially help us to understand the love and character of God in our lives. I chose the two passages of scripture that were read today because I believe they are an expression of or the basis for what it means to live fully in our relationships with each other, and especially how God hopes we experience our relationship with God. They show how wholeness in a relationship is based upon the joy of being together, and the enjoyment that brings to our lives. Jesus tells us that the reason he came, or the reason God sent him, is so his joy may be in us and our joy may be complete. Remember I shared a few weeks ago that the word “enjoy” literally means to be wrapped in joy. Jesus came to wrap us in God’s joy. The Psalmist talks about finding delight in doing God’s will and that delight comes from experiencing God’s Torah, God’s law that is within our heart, the heart being the center of feeling and decision making for our lives in biblical anthropology. And that Torah is not a list of dos and don’ts per se, but literally means “go in this direction,” so it serves as a guide to how we live our lives in relationship with God and others.
Today, as we celebrate Mother’s Day, I want to have some fun, but also recognize that as we reflect upon how we often understand the ideal of a mother’s love we catch a glimpse of relationships that are based upon joy and delight. And it is in this sense of joy that we truly begin to understand what it means to have the direction of God living in our hearts and the reason God wants us to be in at-one-ment with God.
The fun part for me today is that I want to do several songs that suggest this joy. They are taken from an album written by Mary Lu Walker, who wrote many of the songs you have heard as my children’s sermons. But this particular album is called, “Middle Age, Middle Class, Mama Songs.” The first song is a recognition that there are the chores or the work in relationships that indeed are not glamorous, but we do just because they need to be done. But, at the same time there is a delight in doing them when they are done out of love for the one you adore and care about. There is something rewarding or joyful when you know that you are serving the one you love.
Sing “Lord Of The Socks”[i]:
I remember reading the thoughts of a monk who said, “When you are doing something for another, no matter how mundane it may seem, it is an expression of prayer. It is a way of holding them and surrounding them in your love. And when you see all you do in this way, this is truly an expression of joy.” I believe we all sense this in our relationships. The next song I want to do is entitled “The Last Little Boy.” It is a song that shares the anticipation of a mother who is sending her last child off to school, and already celebrating her sense of emancipation, and freedom. But when it happens, she has a feeling she was not exactly prepared for.
Sing: “Last Little Boy”[ii]:
The reality of this love and the delight that it brings is it never ends, even when our children grow and become more independent. Even more, it is a love that is always seeking to be present and be given in anyway it can to bring our love to another. Jesus tries to show us that this is the kind of love we receive from God. God’s love is a love that takes great delight in wrapping us in joy. It is a love that does not try to control us, but allows us the freedom to explore and grow, and even make mistakes, but is always waiting to be given anytime we are ready to receive it. Jesus shows us this love in a parable we have traditionally called “The Parable of the Prodigal Son.” But, many scholars believe it has been misnamed, for the name causes us to focus on the wrong character in the story. The word “prodigal” means spendthrift, generous, even to the point of extravagance. Many believe the parable would be better named, “The Parable of the Prodigal Father.” For in the story what we see is the extravagance of the father’s love and forgiveness. This is the joy of living our lives in God’s unconditional love.
Mary Lu Walker has a similar story in her own life. Her son had run away from home, and the family had no idea where he was. She lives in Corning, New York, which is located on the very southern border of the state. After her son had runaway, Corning experienced a flood that ravaged the city. Now this is pre-cell phone days. Her son was in Florida when he heard about the flood. Having no way to get in touch with his family to find out if they were ok he hopped on his motorcycle and drove straight through to home. Mary Lu tells how she was standing in her front yard talking with a neighbor assessing the damage and what they needed to do to rebuild when she heard the roar of the motorcycle in the distance. And she just knew who it was. As she turned, she could see her son pull up to a stop sign at the cross street to her road, and that when she saw him she just began to run toward him. Sounds pretty familiar doesn’t it? From that experience she wrote this next song:
Love is the foundation of joy and delight in relationships. Even the mundane takes on a sense of prayer when you know that what you are doing is for one who is the focus of your love. You do this as a gift to the one you adore.
This love that we associate with this special day, this love that we hold as an ideal I believe is the reality of God’s love and care for all of us. It is the joy that Jesus came to give to us and the joy that becomes complete when we live it and experience and give it in our lives. We, who have been blessed to receive this love in our lives, know what a gift it is and what a delight it is to share it with the beloved of our lives.
So I close with a story that shows how this precious gift of love, when shared, is something that is passed from generation to generation, and why those who live it are so worthy of our honor and celebration on this special day.
Read I’ll Love You Forever[iv] by Robert Munsch.
Sermon delived by Rev. George Cushman on May 14, 2006.
Materials on this web site are owned by PUMC,
or used with permission,
Go to Top of Page Copyright 2006 Prescott United Methodist Church E-mail us at
and cannot be used elsewhere without PUMC permission.
505 West Gurley Street
Prescott, Arizona 86301
Web Problems or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Internet access provided by Cableone
Go to Top of Page
Copyright 2006 Prescott United Methodist Church
E-mail us at