[for the audio of this sermon click on the above link]
We make our beginning in the Name of God the Father and in the Name of God the Son and in the Name of God the Holy Spirit and all those who are blessed by the faithful Christian witness of their mother said … AMEN He is risen …
It is Mother’s Day, motherhood has become something very different, motherhood has gone through a number of iterations in the last century, at least in the United States. Many here have told me of mothers who had farm chores, tasks that mothers in the post-modern world would probably be mortified to even consider. Waking up early every morning to either perform farm chores or to prepare a large breakfast for a large family who all had farm chores to perform. Back in that day, people started out the day early, performing very real physical exertion.
After the Second World War we had the June Cleaver mom who was impeccably dressed, made sure her house was A-J squared away as well as her husband and children. This really remains the stereotypical mother today, although June Cleaver gave way, about a generation later to the Michelob Light generation. Starting in 1985, Michelob Light preached that we should be it all and do it all with their commercial jingle “who says you can’t have it all…?” Even while those around us might suffer because of our needs, read wants.
Today Motherhood is coming to be seen almost in terms of the “Baltimore mom”. In a letter to the editor from Nathaniel Smalls: “The mother of a Baltimore teenager who was caught on video disciplining her son who was about to join the riots, was labeled a child abuser by some, but hailed as Mother of the Year by most.” Way too many women, forced by circumstances into having to be the disciplinarian. A generation ago, when I was raising children, the attitude was really bad, it was just sort of fun and games, didn’t have to take much too seriously, someone else would take care of it, so long as you let your children make their own decisions everything would work out find. Frank Perretti recounts a discussion with a woman about raising her children as a Christian. In that faux-phoney way some parents try to project, she told Perretti, I couldn’t find the exact quote, but to the extent that she wasn’t going to raise her children in any way/ tradition. Perretti asked, does that mean that you have nothing to offer your child, that there is nothing you can give to your children in a way that will give them a life that they can believe in, ideals that they can strive for, a Savior who will be the Lord of their life and life more abundant, you have nothing to offer your children? Basically, you’re going to allow your child, who has really no frame of reference, no real ability to discern and discriminate, nothing in terms of critical thinking and you’re just going to let them wallow around until they turn 18 and pray that they have somehow built up some kind of genuine discernment? As so open-minded as you think that is, it really means that you are going to allow that child to be raised by the world. The world influences our children and grand-children every single day, the class room, computers, television, what little social interaction they have with peers, is all a very worldly perspective.
We are entrusted with children by God, to raise them according to His will. As we who are Christians know, God’s will is vastly different from the world’s. God’s will is that we grow in His image and our model is the life of Jesus Christ. The agape love that Jesus had for us, His death that paid for the sins of those who know Jesus as their Lord in life and Savior to eternal salvation in the Resurrection. Today the world is straight out about money and earthly security. Survival of the fittest, not trusting in God’s will or His provision, but scratching out, by whatever means, how you can take enough for you.
Even the Baltimore chief of police said he wishes there were more like the mom who rushed into the mob. I would add who wouldn’t surrender to the world. This woman who was put into a position, because of the failure of the world, to physically go out and rescue her son. I pray that no woman is put in that position again, but a Christian mother is called to be that faithful witness to her children and to save them from the crudeness and irresponsibility of the world.
I’m not trying to come off as harsh and unloving, but we have to start looking at what we are leaving our children to. The Baltimore mom, rightly so, was scared to death, that her son was going to wander out into something, that despite the fact that he’s 14 years old and just knows everything he needs to know, he could very well have ended up dead or badly beaten. Moms, grandmoms, spiritual moms, maybe you don’t have a child, but I will bet, there’s children in your life that you could give a motherly influence to. We as parents, moms and dads, are the first Christian witnesses, and may be the only Christian witnesses our children might see, at least on a daily basis. We cannot treat lightly or leave their Christian discipling up to them. There is simply too much influence of the world that is working on them, they will probably end up with that influence and none of what Christ intends for them. Yea it’s difficult, and many times you will feel as if you are not getting anywhere. You will feel that you have lost and have wasted a lot of time and effort. Heavens, you may even look oh so not cool and so old fashioned and out of touch. Do you really want to risk losing a child because you may not appear to be sufficiently hip or with it, and having your child run off into a fight that is just not his or her fight and end up permanently damaged or even dead? My wife had the audacity to paraphrase a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “All that I am or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” Marge said: “All that I am or hope to be I owe to my Lord for sending me my angel mother.” Amen! A Christian mom needs a Christian mom and needs to be a Christian mom.
There is a lot of misguided nonsense in the world, and too many people in order to appear sufficiently sophisticated are willing to sacrifice their children in order to have some sort of respect from the world. I told a story last year from the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees 7 about a mother who watched her seven sons being tortured to death because they would not disavow their faith in God. We who are here in a nice comfy pew in the northeast United States may be repelled at such a story, but we are seeing that story in reality in the middle east, Africa, and Asia. The world is not kind to Christians, yet for five thousand years our ancestors persevered and stayed faithful. You may choose to live in denial and believe you can live anyway you want and raise your children in the world and God will honor that. That is not realistic, God gave up His Son. Jesus’ life of strength in faith and honor. As Christian parents we are called to raise strong young men and women and not lose them to the world. They have had the witness of Christian faithful throughout thousands of years. Sure we want our children to be “happy”, but more importantly don’t we want them to be strong and faithful? We are promised life and life more abundant in Jesus. There is nothing more compelling and inspiring then a man or a woman who lives a life of strength and integrity in Jesus, and as Marge recognized, that was made possible by a mother who was given to her by Jesus in order to be a strong woman and mother in Jesus and one who would live a marvelous life and then a life beyond all description in the resurrection.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amin and Shalom