One woman was abandoned as a child by her mother. Another woman was assaulted as a child by her mother. And there they were in the gathering yesterday for Table and Word.
They ate the sacred meal. They soaked up the message of Jesus.
And gathering by gathering, meal by meal, message by message, a slow motion miracle is taking place in their hearts, minds, and lives.
These woman have worked hard to break old family patterns. These women, by the grace and power of God, are living out their lives as loving mothers of children who will never experience the same kind of heartbreak and pain that their mothers experienced at the hands of their grandmothers.
It’s work, hard work. And it’s a miracle, a slow motion miracle, rolling out over a period of years.
Thanks be to God.
For the most part, our church pays more attention to the church calendar than the calendar of Hallmark-inspired holidays. So our gathering Sunday will be focused on the fourth week of Easter. But without question, the elephant in the room will be Mother’s Day.
Throughout my years of ministry, Mother’s Day at church has always been, how shall I say, complicated.
Some families will have three, maybe four, generations of happy mothers with their children. Others will be mourning the fresh loss of a mother or grandmother.
Some mothers will be snuggling their second or third baby while other women will be silently suffering infertility, miscarriages, or stillbirths.
Some will enter the gathering with thanksgiving for a tender, loving mother who taught them about and showed them the kindness and grace of God. Others will come, dragging behind them heavy memories of being assaulted, neglected, abandoned, or abused by the one person above all who they should have been able to trust.
And with a day this complicated, what could be better than a fourth week of remembering, wrestling with, and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ?
“But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” (Luke 2:19 NIV).
After the birth of Jesus, Mary had a lot to “treasure up” and ponder in her heart. There was the census. The travel. The manger. The shepherds. The angels. The heavenly host. Yes, there was much to treasure and ponder.
I recently spent a day with my mother. In the course of our conversation, she told several stories about my childhood. Some I had heard before, some repeatedly through the years. But others were new stories that shed a little more light on who I am.
Have you ever wondered what Mary shared with Jesus?
Did she share her memories of how she felt when she saw the No Vacancy sign flashing at the Inn? Did a young Jesus love to hear his mother tell about how the animals reacted as she birthed him? Did an excited boy Jesus ever say, “Mom, tell me the one about the shepherds!”?
I wonder what stories Mary shared with Jesus. And I wonder what events provoked the telling of certain stories. What would it have been like to watch Jesus grow in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and people? What was motherhood like for Mary? In what ways was it similar to any mother’s experience? In what ways was it different?
Yes, I wonder what stories Mary told Jesus. I wonder when and why she told him those stories. What was going? When did she choose to tell him? But more than that, I wonder if there were any of these events that Mary treasured and pondered but that she never even tried to tell Jesus. Were there stories she just kept hidden in her heart?