You’ve probably noticed. For some, it’s a source of displeasure, and for others, I assume it’s a welcome relief. I do not give much attention to familial holidays – Mothers Day and Fathers Day. These calendared celebrations rarely appear in my sermons or writings. Maybe some explanation is in order.

These are not truly ‘holy days’ (holidays) of the church. I can’t imagine dropping Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Annunciation Sunday, Easter, Pentecost or All Saints Day from our worship schedule, but I’m always hesitant to allow civic interests to shape the worship of the church. It’s not that civic holidays are not valued or meaningful, but they are not connected to the life of Christ as conveyed in the liturgical year. They are holidays, but they are not ‘holy days.’ That’s my ecclesiastical justification.

More personal (and perhaps more influential in my practice or lack thereof), is my history and parentage. I’ve had a biological mother, an adoptive mother, foster mothers, and a stepmother. I’ve had a biological father, an adoptive father, foster fathers and several stepfathers. Perhaps parents are like chocolate candies – they are really good, but if you have too many of them…well…you get the picture. As I like to say when sharing my story, please do not pity me, worry about me or suggest that I go to therapy. I’ve been to therapy. I’ve unpacked and repacked this baggage plenty of times. I’m good.

I have come to appreciate the gifts each of my parents bestowed into my life. I’m grateful my children have known consistent and caring parents in their lives. I’m grateful my granddaughter has loving parents in her life, but when I enter the Sanctuary, it always feels better to me – seems right to me – to focus my attention and my heart on the God who has loved, mothered, fathered and parented us all. The Mother God who said to Isaiah, “Can a nursing mother forget her child? I will not forget you. I have inscribed you on the palm of my hand.”

Honor your mothers in the manner that seems right to you this weekend, and this Sunday, may we gather to worship the God who has mothered us all…

— Jim

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