A Widespread Exercise in Missing the Point
Today is Mothers Day. And I'm sure that all over the place normally weary women are waking up to something resembling breakfast in bed accompanied by handmade crafts and cards from their adoring children.
I'm also sure that other women are waking up lonely, for the children who have grown up and moved on - who don't call or visit as often as they should and who are feeling a sense of sad nostalgia for what once was.
I'm also sure that there are other women who no longer have their children to hold, or who have never had children to hold who are pulling the covers up over their head again, wishing that this day of painful reminders would simply pass by and that Monday would come quickly.
Mothers Day is a day laden with emotion, expectation, and pressure for so many women, and the Mothers Day worship service tends to be a flashpoint of all of those things for better or worse in the lives of Christian women everywhere. In the past, it used to be expected that Mothers Day would be one of the most well-attended Sundays of the year because there is nothing that Mom wants more than for all of her kids to come to church with her, but in recent years the trend has been the opposite - with more and more women (and the families that they are a part of) opting to skip worship on this Sunday for some combination of reasons derived from the scenarios above.
So this morning, if you're reading this bright and early and still pondering what decision to make about attending church today, on Mothers Day, allow me to help you understand something:
Making today about you is missing the point!
I'm not really interested in what Hallmark wants you to believe, or what the retail industry, or your local florist tells you about Mothers Day, as a pastor, my sole interest in this regard is in helping you understand and live what the Holy Spirit reveals to us through the Scriptures. And what the scriptures admonish again and again is that the worship gathering of the church is about Christ. It doesn't matter if that Sunday falls on Mothers Day, Fathers Day, Grandparents Day, Groundhog Day, Pastor Appreciation Sunday, Cinco de Mayo, Valentine's Day, or any other Sunday that the world likes to make a big deal about. When we gather as a church we gather not to receive honour ourselves, but to honour the one who created us, redeemed us, and is making a new kingdom for us to inhabit. When we gather, we gather for that reason and everything else is secondary (at best).
It's not that honouring Mothers is a bad thing, its written right in the 10 Commandments that we ought to show honour and deference to our parents (Exodus 20:12). But showing honour to them NEVER comes at the expense of first honouring Christ.
Moreover, we are clearly exhorted in the Scriptures (and reminded every Sunday as we celebrate communion) to honour one another above ourselves (Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3-4) so even if you are a Mother on this Sunday, allow me to say this with all the love and compassion I can muster - Today is not about you. It is first and foremost about Christ, and secondarily about others. Isn't that after all the essence of the greatest commandment?
‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
That means that if you're thinking of avoiding church this morning because you don't like the celebration of Mothers Day - you should reconsider - because its not about you.
If you are thinking of avoiding church this morning because you LOVE the celebration of Mothers Day and you want to milk it for all its worth (sleeping in, breakfast in bed, time with the kids, etc.) - you should reconsider - because it's not about you.
At The Bridge Church we don't celebrate Mothers Day as many people have come to expect it to be celebrated. We don't hand out flowers, or make a big deal of things. You won't hear a Mothers Day sermon, or special presentation. Rather when you come, we will acknowledge the day, but we will celebrate Christ.
What we will encourage this morning is that you follow the admonitions of Holy Scripture and make an effort to honour YOUR mother on this day. Look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others
So allow me to say it here, Happy Mothers Day - let's come together this morning to worship Christ and honour each other.