Mother’s Day

The Lord be with you

Mother’s Day, as a national holiday in America, has been around for a little over a century. The Bible describes motherhood as a blessing from God. The Psalm says:

4     The Lord is high above all nations,

and his glory above the heavens!

5     Who is like the Lord our God,

who is seated on high,

6     who looks far down

on the heavens and the earth? …

9     He gives the barren woman a home,

making her the joyous mother of children.

Praise the Lord! (Psalm 113)

A mother’s willingness to defend her children and seek their best interest is well known. Ezekiel once wrote: “What was your mother? A lioness! Among lions she crouched; in the midst of young lions she reared her cubs” (Ezekiel 19:2).

The Mother of Moses comes across as a true heroine in the Bible. Pharaoh orders all male children executed in an effort to prevent Israel from becoming too strong. Jochebed, the mother of Moses, would have nothing to do with that (Exodus 6:20). In defiance of Pharaoh, she first hid her son. When that became impossible, she fashioned a watertight basket, set him on the Nile River, and had his older sister Miriam watch to see what would happen. When Miriam saw Pharaoh’s daughter rescue Moses, she arranged for Jochebed to be his wet-nurse. So Jochebed raised Moses and passed on to him the hope of the Messiah (Exodus 2).

Mother’s have a long history of passing on the true faith. Paul wrote Timothy, “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well” (2 Timothy 1:5).

A mother’s compassionate love for her children is seen in many places. One of the more famous decisions made by King Solomon came as two women claimed the same child as their own. Solomon counted on motherly love to make the correct decision (1 Kings 3:16-28). In 2 Kings 4 we read a story about a Shunammite family. The son in the home became ill. His father did what countless fathers before and after him have done, he sent his son to his mother. Try as she might, she could not help. The woman, though, did not give up, even though her son died. She sent for the prophet Elisha, whom she knew and had helped before. Elisha came and, through him, God raised her son back to life. This mother did not give up.

When Saint Paul wants to describe his ministry among the Thessalonians, he could think of no better comparison than to a mother. He said, “But we were gentle among you, like a nursing mother taking care of her own children” (1 Thessalonians 2:7).

Because compassion is such an outstanding trait of mothers, because mothers go to such great lengths for the sake of their children, it is not surprising that God self-describes himself in such motherly terms. Isaiah wrote:

13   As one whom his mother comforts,

so I will comfort you;

you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

14   You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;

your bones shall flourish like the grass;

and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,

and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.

In Matthew 23 Jesus is approaching Jerusalem during Holy Week. On a hill overlooking the city Jesus said, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!” (Matthew 23:37). Jesus does not use a rooster trying to protect the chicks as an image of his love, but a hen. What a wonderful image of a mother’s love. What a wonderful image of God’s love for us.

Motherhood is such a comforting and reassuring idea that it is even used to describe heaven. Paul wrote, “But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother” (Galatians 4:26). As a child runs home and is welcomed by his mother, maybe with an after-school snack like cookies, so we, when we die, go to our “mother,” the heavenly Jerusalem, and are welcomed to the heavenly banquet (Isaiah 25:6; Matthew 22:2).

The very best traits of motherhood, unrestrained love, fierce loyalty, compassion, and a healing touch when their children are injured, and so on, are a reflection of God love and mercy for us. If we are blessed, then not only are such things a description of God (for they always are) but also a description of our Mothers. This Mother’s Day, if your mother is still alive, thank her for how she modeled God’s love in your life. If she wasn’t such a great model, she at least modeled God’s love by giving you birth, and God has given us the rebirth of faith through the waters of life.

Happy Mother’s Day