Mother’s Day is a wonderful time to celebrate mothers and the special relationship they enjoy with their children. It’s a day to say “Thanks, Mom!” for rising to the task of raising children.
It can also, however, be a challenging day for the church. Beyond finding fresh ways to honor Mom (what gift will we give the oldest mom this year? and, how many ways can you preach on Proverbs 31?) there is a delicate line between celebrating motherhood without hurting those who find the day painful.
Let me share a couple of thoughts on how I believe the church can share grace by making the day more inclusive:
- Be thoughtful of those who are uncomfortable on Mother’s Day.
Not everyone can celebrate. Some are hurting because they have prayed fervently for children but have none. Some have lost their children through disconnection or even death. There are those who do not have memories or relationship they feel comfortable celebrating. For others, Mother’s Day is a painful reminder of a loving mother no longer with them.
This should not keep us from honoring Mothers, but it should cause us to be discerning and caring in the way we do so.
- Celebrate biblical motherhood
While showing due sensitivity, don’t back away from honoring those worthy of honor. It can be a day of honoring faithful mothers, encouraging gratitude in children, teaching Biblical truth about the family, and committing to Godly family relationships. The benefits of the day are too important to discard, and I don’t think even those who find the day painful would want them to be lost.
- Recognize and experience the contribution of ALL Christian ladies
Like Deborah in the book of Judges, there are many ladies who can be described as “a mother in Israel.” (Judges 5:7) They mentor (Titus 2:3-5), minister (Acts 9:39), or engage in the work of intercessory prayer (1 Timothy 5:5). They may or may not have children or grandchildren of their own, and they may or may not have a position of leadership, but they demonstrate motherhood through their love, character, and instruction to the church.
This is a role any Christian lady can fulfill and every church should be so blessed to have such Godly “mothers” among their number. Mother’s Day presents an opportunity to recognize and challenge others to follow their example.
- Be the family consistently
While it does not displace the physical family, our spiritual family does often supplement when the physical is lacking. The church has the responsibility (James 1:27) and opportunity (1 Timothy 1:2) to be the family for those in need of the warmth of a familial relationship. This “family atmosphere” within the church is a manifestation of grace to each member, especially those who are hurting and feeling a sense of loss. When this environment is fostered consistently, respect for the hurting while celebrating the “mothers in Israel” will be the natural outflow on Mother’s Day.
Balancing Mother’s Day is certainly a challenge worth accepting. It is a blessed opportunity to bring glory to God by exhibiting the holistic nature and grace-expression of a church family.
Happy Mother’s Day!