This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. For many people, it’s a beloved day in which we celebrate the mothers in our lives, especially our own mothers. We give thanks for their dedication, their love, their strength and tenacity and sacrifice, and their grace in raising us.

We give presents and have special recognitions or rituals Rev JC Austinas part of that celebration. And often people make a special point of attending church with their mothers, so in many congregations there is a “Mother’s Day spike” in attendance. All of those things are good and beautiful in and for their own sake.

But Mother’s Day is also a complicated and even difficult day for many people. For some, it is a day when grief makes a special and pronounced visit, as they remember their mother or the mother of their children who has died.

For others, it is a day of particular pain, because they are children estranged from their mothers, or mothers estranged from their children, or because they have wanted so badly to become a mother and have been unable to do so for various reasons, or because they are the mother of a child who has died. I have talked to many women who actually avoid coming to church on Mother’s Day for some of those very reasons.

And, interestingly enough, Mother’s Day has its roots in celebrating mothers not in and of themselves, but rather around mothers engaging in issues of justice, mercy, and peace. Anna Jarvis, the woman generally credited with getting the official U.S. holiday established, did it to honor her mother, who was renowned for caring for wounded Civil War soldiers regardless of their allegiances, and for establishing “Mother’s Day Work Clubs” as part of a public health movement advocating for improved sanitation and reducing infant mortality. 

This Sunday, we will be touching on all of these threads in the prayers during the service. So, whatever Mother’s Day brings up for you, there is a place for it in our worship this Sunday. I hope to see you there, whether in person or online!

Grace and Peace,