Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal

Mother's Day

Volume 4 No. 218 May 9, 2014

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Theotokos
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
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1. Foreword: Mother's Day

The best example of a biblical mother is St. Mary. Mary knew how to develop Jesus without interfering with his plans for the salvation of mankind. She was with him when he needed her; but gave him the room when he needed it. Mary's story reminds us that being mother is not a cake walk; it requires many sacrifices. ...

2. Bible Readings for This Sunday (May 11)

Bible Reading for 2nd Sunday After New Sunday
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Lectionary/Lec_2nd-sunday-after-new-sunday.htm

3. Sermons for This Sunday (May 11)

Sermons for the 2nd Sunday After New Sunday
http://www.MalankaraWorld.com/Library/Sermons/Sermon-of-the-week_2nd-sunday-after-new-sunday.htm

4. Inspiration for Today

I have the highest respect and admiration for those who are blessed to be called mothers. There is no assignment on earth that requires the array of skills and understanding needed by a mom in fulfilling her everyday duties....

5. Featured: The Love of a Mother by Fr. Altier

There would be no putting love into practice if we did not have a means to be able to learn it in the first place, and that comes from our mothers. That is the commandment that Jesus gave us: We are to love one another as He had loved us. Where do we learn that except from our mothers? More than any place, for most people, they learn love from a mom. All of us, every single one of us, learned love at its beginning by dwelling for nine months listening to the beautiful sound of a heartbeat, the beating heart of our own mother. That was the sound that permeated our life more than any other for nine full months. Every single second of our existence for nine months, we heard constantly that rhythmic beat. ...

6. Motherhood: Part of God's Plan for the Family

Motherhood is a beautiful gift from God because Psalm 127:3 tells us that "children are a heritage from the Lord." I found that when I was carrying those precious unborn babies right under my heart they brought me to a very close relationship with my Heavenly Father. ...

Motherhood is a great calling and can be a rich blessing if you follow the biblical teaching for the family as God has commanded in His Word. God has raised the worth of a woman to enable her to be the kind of mother that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father. ...

7. Mom, I want to be just like you.

That night, she lay sleeping in front of the television after a hard day taking care of everyone. Her tired hands crossed in front of her chest as her glasses were barely still on her face. I kneeled down and kissed her and whispered in her ear, "I would be truly blessed if I grew up and became just like you."

Thank you mother for unconditional love all of my life, and for modeling and being a person I would be proud to be one day. ...

8. Poem: Mother's Prayers Have Followed Me

9. A Mother's Prayer

Every child benefits from someone who believes in him, and the younger the child, the more important it is to have high expectations.
You may not have an Einstein, but your child has great possibilities!
Expect the best and chances are, that's exactly what you'll get. ...

10. Poem: Mother

11. Mother's Day Sermon - A Wider View

There is something special about mothers, motherhood, and mothering. There is! And for the millionth time in my life, I'm going to emphasize this special quality of mothering is not limited to mothers or even to women. It is an attitude. It is an approach to life. It is a quality. It is a gift experienced across the generations, across the genders, across the roles of daily lie. Birth mothers, adoptive mothers, step mothers foster mothers, Godmothers, grandmothers … these are the most obvious. But also aunts, friends, coaches, teachers. But also all the male equivalents: uncles, stepfathers, grandfathers, yes, even other kids, and even church members.

Jesus was very clear: "Whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven, whoever does God's will makes this world a tiny bit better, a tiny bit more Christ-like, a tiny bit more motherly, "That person, Jesus said, "That kind of person is like my mother. That's my family." ...

12. Humor: Mother's Milk

13. About Malankara World

Foreword: Mother's Day

by Dr. Jacob Mathew, Editor-in-Chief, Malankara World

This mother's day is bittersweet for me. My mother died last year. This is the first mother's day without her.

But then the "sweet" part. Today early morning my daughter delivered her baby elevating myself and my wife to the rank of "grandparents."

Maia - Baby Elizabeth

We often hear about our atheist scholars talking about the advancements in science. With all the advancements in science, we still cannot predict when a child will be born naturally. Yes, there is a "due" date; but the child can arrive earlier as well as later. Only God knows. Enough for the science.

There are people who abort their kids and then there are others crying because they are not blessed with children. In bible we hear about Elizabeth and Zachariah waiting and praying for a child. Then there is Hannah who cries and promises God that she will offer her son for the service of God if she is blessed with one. We know of Rachel longing for a child as well as Sera who gave up the idea for a child as she and Abraham were too old to have a child. So, motherhood is a privilege. It comes with many responsibilities too.

Howard Johnson (c. 1915) defined a mother thus:

M-O-T-H-E-R

"M" is for the million things she gave me,
"O" means only that she's growing old,
"T" is for the tears she shed to save me,
"H" is for her heart of purest gold;
"E" is for her eyes, with love-light shining,
"R" means right, and right she'll always be,
Put them all together, they spell "MOTHER,"
A word that means the world to me.

The best example of a biblical mother is St. Mary. Mary knew how to develop Jesus without interfering with his plans for the salvation of mankind. She was with him when he needed her; but gave him the room when he needed it. Mary's story reminds us that being mother is not a cake walk; it requires many sacrifices.

There are several noteworthy mothers in New Testament. One example is Timothy. Timothy was the son of a Jewish woman named Eunice. She was a believer (Acts 16:1, 2). Timothy was a disciple of Paul (1 Timothy 1:2). Paul commends Timothy for his faithfulness to the sacred texts and his friendship (2 Timothy 3:15, 10–11). When everyone had abandoned Paul during his imprisonment in Rome, Timothy remained faithful to Paul through prayers and tears (2 Timothy 1:3–5). Paul was greatly affected by the ministry and love of Timothy. Interestingly, Paul attributes Timothy's faith and character to his mother's and his grandmother's faithful witness.

The legacy of these women are mentioned in two places in New Testament. First we see it when Paul is thanking God for Timothy and his faith. Paul reminds Timothy that his sincere faith dwelt first in his grandmother Lois and then his mother Eunice. Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:5, "now, I am sure, dwells in you as well."  Later, Paul encourages Timothy to stay strong in the Word, not being deceived, and under the persecution that surely comes from those who follow Christ (2 Timothy 3:12-14). Paul reminds Timothy that he learned and firmly believed the Word from a young age, "from childhood" (2 Timothy 3:15).

Eunice and Lois were model mother and grandmother. They took time to teach Timothy about God. The gospel that was passed on to Timothy by his mother and grandmother was, in turn, passed from Timothy to other generations. This shows the critical role played by mothers in a child's life. (We do not hear much about the Greek father of Timothy.)

We have provided a selected list of articles that illustrates the role played by mothers in our lives. Let me conclude with a poem about Mother's Love:

Remembering My Mother's Love

I remember, I remember, as I sit in quiet mood,
Scenes of childhood, tastes of Summer,
What a pleasant interlude!

I recall with certain odors, simple pleasures of the past,
Mother baking, Mother singing,
Times I hoped would always last.

Mother's love was like a blanket, shielding me from chill of night,
Gentle touching, soft caresses,
Weaving charms against my fright.

I remember, I remember, Mother always stood with me,
Could I love her as she loved me?
Could I love her endlessly?

Quiet moments fill with music, lullabies my Mother cooed,
As my days grow long and darkened,
These are now my dreamlife food.

We wish all mothers a Happy Mother's Day.

This Sunday in Church
Bible Readings for This Sunday (May 11)

Sermons for This Sunday (May 11)
This Week's Features

Inspiration for Today
I have the highest respect and admiration for those who are blessed to be called mothers. There is no assignment on earth that requires the array of skills and understanding needed by a mom in fulfilling her everyday duties. She must be a resident psychologist, physician, theologian, educator, nurse, chef, taxi driver, fire marshal, and occasional police officer.

Join her on a midmorning visit to the pediatrician's office. After sitting for forty-five minutes with a cranky, feverish toddler on her lap, Mom and baby are finally ushered into the examining room. The doctor checks out the sick child and then tells the woman with a straight face, "Be sure you keep him quiet for four or five days. Don't let him scratch the rash. Make certain he keeps the medicine down, and you'll want to watch his stools."

"Yeah sure, Doc! Any other suggestions?"

"Just one. This disease is contagious. Keep your other four kids away from him. I'll see you in a week."

The amazing thing is that most mothers would get this job done - and they'd do it with love and wisdom. God made 'em good at what they do. And He gave them a passion for their children. They would, quite literally, lay down their lives to protect the kids entrusted to their care. And that's why they are deserving of our admiration - on Mother's Day, or on any other day of the year.

- Dr. James Dobson, Family Talk

Featured: The Love of a Mother

by Fr. Altier

Today our nation takes an opportunity to celebrate our mothers. We put aside a day for Mother's Day. Mother's Day actually did not begin in America, but it began almost a couple of millennia ago. It began by people coming back to the church where they were baptized. They recognized that the Church was their mother at the baptismal font. So the idea was that they would celebrate a day when they would all go back to their mother church. All the converts would be there together, the ones from over the years, and they would all be together in the place where they were baptized. They would celebrate their faith and life that they had learned and received in that church.

It did not take a whole lot of time for people to say, "If we are going to be able to celebrate the supernatural life that we have through Holy Mother Church, then it is also fitting that on this day we should visit our mothers (our natural mothers) from whom we have natural life." That is the way Mother's Day began. First of all, by recognizing the life given to us by God in Baptism. Then from there to say, "We wouldn't have the life of Baptism if we didn't have natural life, and that we received from our mothers." Today we take the opportunity to think about motherhood on both of those levels. For a mother, I think this is all very natural. When we look at the readings today, we see some different elements that any mother would recognize. For instance, when Paul and Barnabas would go into the churches they would have to encourage the people.

They would have to know it is only through many hardships that we will enter the kingdom of heaven.

How a mother knows that, even from the time of birth when she thinks of not only what she has to endure but of what a baby has to endure in childbirth, and then going through all the struggles of when they are little - whether it is all the problems of teething, or the difficulties when a baby gets sick, or whatever it may be, all of the little aches and pains and hurts that a little baby goes through as they learn to walk and they fall down and they bang their heads and they do all the other little things. Then, of course, there are the teenage years which are very distressing, not only for the kids but for the moms as well. They endure that for their children.

They encourage them and they try to build them up. So it is indeed through many hardships that we grow. We learn wisdom on the natural level but we also grow in love with God. We learn wisdom on the supernatural level by enduring the hardships of life and offering them in union with Jesus Christ. It is in that that we put love into practice.

There would be no putting love into practice if we did not have a means to be able to learn it in the first place, and that comes from our mothers. That is the commandment that Jesus gave us: We are to love one another as He had loved us. Where do we learn that except from our mothers? More than any place, for most people, they learn love from a mom. All of us, every single one of us, learned love at its beginning by dwelling for nine months listening to the beautiful sound of a heartbeat, the beating heart of our own mother. That was the sound that permeated our life more than any other for nine full months. Every single second of our existence for nine months, we heard constantly that rhythmic beat.

If a mom brings all of her babies to the doctor and they all put the stethoscope on, they hear the baby's heart and they can hear the mom's heart. One person told me how beautiful it is to listen because where the doctors would say a mother's heart sounds like lub-dub, lub-dub, but from a child's point of view they would say it sounds like love-you, love-you. That is what we grow up with. That is how we begin our life: with that constant reminder of love that a mother gives to her children. She conceives that child in love. She bears the child in love. She raises the child in love.

Just step back and consider again what a mother does, pouring herself out entirely for that baby. She has to do things for a child that normally none of us would like to do. Yet, how a mother rejoices even in that. We know that we don't always rejoice in some of those things even as moms, but for the most part, a mom accepts with peace and with joy in her heart even some of those things which are so unpleasant. She is full of love even when a child is sick and makes a mess all over. On a natural level, we would walk away from that. But out of love for a child, a mother enters right into that, not only to clean up the mess, but more than anything to be able to care for her child.

Once again, in that we see a mother pouring herself out, loving her children even when it is not easy, even when it is not pleasant, because a mother's heart knows only that love.

We think about the moms who have so generously brought into this world many lives. They look at those children and realize with every single conception that their hearts (and their ability to love) expands every single time. When that first baby is born, a mother is so in love with that little baby she cannot imagine that there can be a greater love because of the love she has for her husband and the love she has for this child. Six and eight and ten and twelve babies later, she realizes the love that was there for the first one was only a foreshadowing of the love that has now grown. It has grown through all of the aches and the pains and the hardships of all of these other little ones she has brought into the world. Her heart that was exploding with love on the day that first one was conceived, and the day that first one was born, is now expanded far beyond whatever that mother could have imagined on the day of the first birth.

We see again the most extraordinary element of God's creation: the heart of a mother.

We think of the miracle of that little baby that is born of our mothers. We need to look even a step prior to that and look at the heart that desired beyond all else to conceive a child, to love a child; that is our mother. How grateful each one of us must be to our mothers for the life that we have. We see how a mother, as her children continue to grow to the point where they have their own babies, is able to repeat with Jesus (or is able to understand those words of Our Lord in a new way), "Behold, I make all things new."

Think of what a great-grandmother must experience in her old age when she looks at this tiny little baby that is not the child of her own child, but the grandchild of her own child. She looks at God renewing humanity as she, in her old age, looks to a new birth unto eternal life. She sees a new birth as life continues in this world and rejoices because she recognizes that her motherhood is not for herself, but her motherhood is for someone else. The unselfish love of a mother is the closest thing in this world to the love of God. She gives herself for the sake of a child and that is what we see in the motherhood of the Church as well.

In the Book of Revelation (the second reading),we hear about the Church coming down from heaven, the new Jerusalem as a bride adorned for her husband. That bride in union with her husband brings forth new life. The new life the Church gives to us is not for the sake of the Church, but is for the sake of her children and for the sake of God. So that as Jesus would be able to say as Judas walked away from the Last Supper, "Now is the Son of God glorified, and God is glorified in Him, and God will glorify Him." That is exactly what has happened to each one of us on the day that the Church exercised her motherhood at the baptismal font. God glorified each one of us and He has said to each one of us, "My dwelling is with men."

He has come to us and He resides in our hearts, our hearts that were prepared to receive the gift of God (Who is Love), of the indwelling of the Trinity. Our hearts, even as tiny little babies had only known love and were prepared to receive Love when He would come to us on the day of our Baptism. Our own mothers brought us to the baptismal font in, once again, that selfless kind of love, where they offered us to God. In their hearts they are saying, "This baby of mine is now a child of God. This child that God has allowed me to conceive and bring into this world, I now give back to God. This child will be born anew at the baptismal font and will share not only the natural life, made in my own image and likeness along with my husband, but now is renewed into the very likeness of God in Whose image this child was made in the first place."

A mother shares in the creative work of God providing with her husband the material for the body. God infuses into us, in the womb of our mother, our soul. The two, God and our mother, are sharing in creation. They are renewing the face of the earth, providing for new growth, a new generation of people who are created to glorify God, who are made to be saints and who are made to love. All of this is due to the love of a woman who is our mother.

Today as we meditate upon this mystery of life we consider our first mother, Eve. We consider our spiritual mother, the Blessed Lady. We consider the Church, Mater and Magister (Mother and Teacher). And we consider the most beautiful woman in our lives, our own mother, the one who gave us life, the one who taught us to love. She is the one who gave us to love Him, so that even in the newness of life all things would be new once again. Our mothers, out of love for us, wanted to give us not only natural life but they wanted to share with us eternal life. They have taught us to love so that we would be saints. They have brought us to the baptismal font so that we can get to Heaven. They teach us by word and by example what it means to follow the commandment of love. As they have done in this world, and as Our Lord has already done for us (as He promises in John's Gospel), I think that we can say the same for our mothers and our grandmothers who have gone before us: They go before us to prepare a place for us so that where they are, we also may be. Thanks be to God for moms. They are the ones who teach us the love of God in human form. 

Motherhood: Part of God's Plan for the Family

by Beverly LaHaye

Growing up as a young girl there was never any doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a mother one day. Yes, there were other goals that I wanted to fulfill but I always thought that I could do it all. I could get an education, have a respectable career, prepare to be involved in a ministry of some kind, travel to exciting places, meet the man of my dreams and still include motherhood in my future.

It happened that way, except in reverse order, and I'm so glad it did because God knew best. Putting motherhood at the end of my list could have meant that I would never reach it. I believe the Lord knew that the greatest preparation to keep me walking close to the Lord was to give me the honor and responsibility of being a mother first.

Early on I met my husband-to-be, who became the love of my life, my life's companion, and the father of my children. Later God blessed us and I became a mother of four children, and I came to realize that was a higher calling and fulfillment than all the other goals I had in mind in my younger years. If the other things happened later on in life it would be fine with me, but God had given me the very best and the most important first!

Motherhood is a beautiful gift from God because Psalm 127:3 tells us that "children are a heritage from the Lord." I found that when I was carrying those precious unborn babies right under my heart they brought me to a very close relationship with my Heavenly Father. Every time I felt the gentle and not-so-gentle movements of those little feet it was like God was reminding me that He had created that child within me. When the little hands would press against my organs I was again reminded that I was privileged to carry God's special creation within me. I felt sorry my husband was missing the special relationship that God was giving to me as a mother. I tried to share the joy with him, but found it hard to express what was going on in my heart and my body.

Simple caretaker It grieves me greatly when I see how the blessing of motherhood and the joy of nurturing children are being reduced to that of simply being a "caretaker." In recent years there has been an effort to minimize the importance of recognizing the role of mother and also father in our society, even to the extent of doing away with the holidays for honoring mothers and fathers. More than ever we need to be emphasizing the responsibility that moms and dads play in raising children with good morals and biblical family values.

I have had some of the liberal-minded women try to tell me that motherhood is a second-rate profession with a "caretaker" mentality, after all if you can't do something else you can always resort to being a mother. Regardless of how they phrase it, I am convinced that in the heart of almost every woman is the strong desire to carry a baby close to her heart.

A few years ago I was invited to be a guest on a popular TV talk show and the subject was going to be "motherhood." When I arrived I found I was the only woman on the five-person panel that was married and had children with my own husband. The other four women had not married but desperately wanted to be mothers so they had gone to a "sperm bank" to pick out the kind of sperm they wanted to be the father of their babies. Three of the women were already pregnant and the fourth one had given birth to her "sperm bank" baby three years before. These women wanted to be mothers, but without the attachment of a husband/father for their children.

Where's daddy? One of my first questions to them was what will you tell your children when they get old enough to ask about their daddy? Children are bound to ask that question when they hear other children talking about their own daddys. After the show the little child ran up to her mother and began tugging at her skirt asking, "Do I have a daddy? When will I see my daddy? Will I ever get to see my daddy?" The mother tried to hush her daughter several times but she continued to insist on an answer. It was obvious that this mother was more interested in trying to meet her own desires to be a mother than she was for the needs of her child for a loving relationship with a father.

Motherhood is a great calling and can be a rich blessing if you follow the biblical teaching for the family as God has commanded in His Word. God has raised the worth of a woman to enable her to be the kind of mother that is pleasing to our Heavenly Father.

About The Author:

LaHaye is founder of the faith-based Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest public policy women's organization.

Source: Dakota Voice

"Mom, I want to be just like you."

by Cassandra Walker

"Mom, I want to be just like you."

That's what I told my mother as a 5-year-old girl, watching her brush her teeth. "I want to be tall like you and have teeth like you. And I even want to wear lots and lots of lipstick like you."

My mother smirked, not knowing if that was a compliment from her precocious young daughter.

When I was 10, I stood tall as my mother dressed me in my favorite pink dress and put matching ribbons in my hair. She allowed me to wear lip gloss for the first time and I felt so grown up. "Mom, you are my best friend and I want to be just like you when I grow up," I said, sharing with her, almost at the point of tears.

When I was 16-years old and with a drivers license, I was so cool – at least I thought I was. My friends were so important to me and whatever they said was what I considered the truth.

"No, you can't drive tonight. It is going to rain and I don't want you out there in the bad weather. You could have an accident," Mom explained. To which I responded, "Mom, you are so old fashioned. I will be OK. Please let me go. My friends are depending on me."

I got the old cold stare and the "no way, not today" look from my mother. She is so not with it, I thought to myself, I don't want to be like her when I grow up.

At college graduation, I was finally an adult and I felt so independent. My parents were in the stands cheering me on as I crossed the stage and was handed my degree. They were so proud. I saw my mother wipe a tear from her eye and I thought, "She is so emotional. I am definitely not like that. I am so glad they came to support me today."

My wedding day was getting closer and I stood very still as my mother put in the final touches of the wedding gown that she had made for me. She had taken four months to complete it and put all of her love into every stitch. As I looked down at her graying head of hair, I said in a whisper, "I love you, Mom. I wouldn't mind being a little like you when I grow up."

Having my last child and now in my 30s, I hugged my new baby and looked over at my mother to give her a smile. She had come up to my home for the birth of all of my children and I was so thankful. When we returned home from the hospital, my mother cooked, cleaned and took care of me and the new baby. That night, she lay sleeping in front of the television after a hard day taking care of everyone. Her tired hands crossed in front of her chest as her glasses were barely still on her face. I kneeled down and kissed her and whispered in her ear, "I would be truly blessed if I grew up and became just like you."

Thank you mother for unconditional love all of my life, and for modeling and being a person I would be proud to be one day.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers in the world.

Source: WorldNetDaily.com

Poem: Mother's Prayers Have Followed Me
I grieved my Lord from day to day,
I scorned His love so full and free,
And though I wandered far away,
My mother's prayers have followed me.

Refrain:

I'm coming home, I'm coming home,
To live my wasted life anew,
For mother's prayers have followed me,
Have followed me the whole world through.

O'er desert wild, o'er mountain high,
A wanderer I chose to be;
A wretched soul, condemned to die,
Still mother's prayers have followed me.

Refrain

He turned my darkness into light,
This blessed Christ of Calvary!
I'll praise His name both day and night,
That mother's prayers have followed me.

Refrain

Lizzie DeArmond & Bentley Deforest Ackley, 1912 

A Mother's Prayer

by Dr. Harold L. White

Scripture: I Chronicles 29

"I think of you wherever I go
Of days gone by and times of wonder
Of simple things no more to be
How I wish you were once more three.

I think of times when you were younger
Happy days, sad days and in between
Of little you upon my knee
How I wish you were once more three

I think of us and how we've been
And deep inside I begin to scream
The tears are frozen behind my eyes
No one hears my sobs and sighs
I pray the Lord for help for me
How I wish you were once more three.

Alas, I know it's now too late
To start again and clear the slate
To see again the days of yore
To try to change what's gone before
So I pray to God to let me be
As close to you as when you were three."

Being a mother is an almost impossible task!
What is a mother to do?

She Can Pray!

That's about all you can do.
So, let us talk about prayer.
Prayer for the Christian must not be -- ";What I can get out of it? "
Prayer must focus upon God's greatness and grace.

In our scripture David praises God for Who He is.
"Thine, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory,
and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom,
O Lord, and thou art exalted as head above all.
Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reigneth over all; and in thine hand
is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all."

David is acknowledging to God that he knows God's character.
He praises God for both Who He is, and for what He has done.

Everyone needs recognition for his accomplishments, but few people make the need known quite as clearly as the little boy who said to his father:
"Let's play darts. I'll throw and you say 'Wonderful!'"

Well, God doesn't need us to tell Him how wonderful He is, nor is it necessary for us to bargain with him or flatter Him to gain favor.
So, why do we do it?
We do it to remind ourselves how wonderful God is.
Prayer is the time for us to ask for what we need.
Mothers, are you grieved because of the way your children disobey God's Word and your instruction?
Don't despair -- ask God to make it right!

David was not afraid to approach God with his requests.
Here, he petitioned God to keep the people pure in spirit.
The Scriptures are clear in both the Old and New Testaments that we are to present our needs before God.
We have not because we ask not.

We don't deserve this privilege, and it is a privilege, and it is ours.
If we are praying and praying, and do not receive an answer, it may be because we ourselves are not yielded to God.
Sometimes, God says, "No," even though it is not what we want to hear.
We must be yielded enough to Him to understand that answer.

In the summer of 1986, two ships collided in the Black Sea off the coast of Russia.
Hundreds of passengers died as they were hurled into the icy waters.
News of the disaster was further darkened, when an investigation revealed the cause of the accident.
It wasn't a technology problem -- like radar malfunction -- or even thick fog.
The cause was human stubbornness.

Each captain was aware of the other ship's presence nearby.
Both could have steered clear, but according to news reports, neither captain wanted to give way to the other.
Each was too proud to yield.
By the time they came to their senses, it was too late.

Are we yielded enough to God to hear His answers?
Or are we waiting until it is too late?
If we are busy asking, and are yielding to God in a repentant attitude, we can expect something to happen!
We should have great expectations.
For instance, you can have a brighter child; it all depends on your expectations.

Before you're tempted to say, "Not true," let me tell you about
Harvard social psychologist Robert Rosenthal's classic study.
All the children in one San Francisco grade school were given a standard IQ test at the beginning of the school year.
The teachers were told the test could predict which students could be expected to have a spurt of academic and intellectual improvement that year.

The researchers drew names out of a hat, and told the teachers that hose were the children who had displayed a high potential for improvement.
Naturally, the teachers thought they had been selected because of their test performance and began treating these children as special children.

And the most amazing thing happened -- the spurters, spurted!
Overall, the "late blooming" kids averaged four more IQ points on the second test than did the other group of students.

However, the gains were most dramatic in the lowest grades.
First graders, whose teachers expected them to advance intellectually jumped 27.4 points, and the second grade spurters increased on the average 16.5 points more than their peers.
One little Latin-American child, who had been classified as mentally retarded with an IQ of 61, scored 106 after his selection as a late bloomer. Isn't that impressive!

It reminds me of what Eliza Doolittle says in My Fair Lady, "The difference between a lady and a flower girl is not how she behaves, but how she is treated."
So, how a child is treated has a lot to do with how that child sees herself or himself, and ultimately behaves.

If a child is treated as a slow learner and you don't expect much, the child shrugs her or his shoulders and says, "Why should I try, nobody thinks I can do it anyway!"
And she or he gives up.

But if you look at that child as someone who has great potential than she or he will ever be able to develop, you will challenge that child to do more and to be more.
So, work with that child through discouragement, and find ways to explain concepts so the child can understand.
You won't mind investing time in the child because you know your investment is going to pay off!
And it will!

So, here is the message for parents.
Every child benefits from someone who believes in him, and the younger the child, the more important it is to have high expectations.
You may not have an Einstein, but your child has great possibilities!
Expect the best and chances are, that's exactly what you'll get.

As parents, we often expect a lot out of our children, and indeed, the turnabout is often true as well.
Our children expect a lot out of us!
If we are going to pray with power we must expect God to hear and answer our prayers.
We must expect great things.

In 1972, NASA launched the exploratory space probe, Pioneer 10.
According to Leon Jaroff in Time, the satellite's primary mission was to reach Jupiter, photograph the planet and its moons, and beam data to earth about Jupiter's
magnetic field, radiation belts, and atmosphere.
Scientists regarded this as a bold plan, for at that time no earth satellite had ever gone beyond Mars, and they feared the asteroid belt would destroy the satellite before it could reach its target.
But Pioneer 10 accomplished its mission and much, much more.

Swinging past the giant planet in November 1973, Jupiter's immense gravity hurled Pioneer 10 at a higher rate of speed toward the edge of the solar system.
At one billion miles from the sun, Pioneer 10 passed Saturn.
At some two billion miles, it hurtled past Uranus; Neptune at nearly three billion miles;
Pluto at almost four billion miles.
By 1997, twenty-five years after its launch, Pioneer 10 was more than six billion miles from the sun.

And despite that immense distance, Pioneer 10 continued to beam back radio signals to scientists on Earth.
"Perhaps most remarkable," writes Jaroff, "Those signals emanate from an 8-watt transmitter, which radiates about as much power as a bedroom night-light, and takes more than nine hours to reach Earth."

The Little Satellite That Could was not qualified to do what it did.
Engineers designed Pioneer 10 with a useful life of just three years.
But it kept going and going.
By simple longevity, its tiny 8-watt transmitter radio accomplished more than anyone thought possible.

So, it is when we submit ourselves to serve the Lord.

God can work even through someone with 8-watt abilities.
God will not work through someone who quits.
We cannot give up.
The early church went to elaborate lengths to pray.
We must return to prayer over and over again.

Paul told Timothy in 1 Tim. 2:8: "I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting."
Not a day goes by that we don't have something to take to God in prayer.
Especially those who are mothers!

Problems happen with the kids, whether young or old!
Pray about it!
Get down on your knees, day after day and pray.
God will hear your prayers.

"Happy Mother's Day" means more
Than have a happy day.
Within those words lie lots of things
We never get to say.

It means I love you first of all,
Then thanks for all you do.
It means you mean a lot to me,
And that I honor you.

But most of all, I guess it means
That I am thinking of
Your happiness on this, your day,
With pleasure and with love."

To all of our mothers -- we wish the greatest of God's blessings, and encourage you in prayer.

Poem: Mother

By Kari Keshmiry

When God set the world in place,
when He hung the stars up in space,
when He made the land and the sea,
then He made you and me.

He sat back and saw all that was good,
He saw things to be as they should.
Just one more blessing He had in store;
He created a mother, but whatever for?

He knew a mother would have a special place
to shine His reflection on her child’s face.
A mother will walk the extra mile
just to see her children smile.
She’ll work her fingers to the bone
to make a house into a home.

A mother is there to teach and guide,
a mother will stay right by your side.
She’ll be there through your pain and strife,
she’ll stay constant in your life.

A mother will lend a helping hand
until you have the strength to stand.
She’ll pick you up when you are down,
when you need a friend she’ll stick around.

A mother is one who listens well,
will keep her word; will never tell.

A mother never pokes or pries
but stands quietly by your side,
giving you the strength you need,
encouraging you to succeed.

A mother is one who can be strong
when you need someone to lean on.

You’re more than a mother to me;
a reflection of Him in your face I see,
a love that knows no boundaries.

I’m glad that you chose to be
all this and more to me.
You share a love that knows no end,
you’re more than my mother,
you are my friend.

Mother's Day Sermon - A Wider View

by Rev. David Johnson Rowe

Gospel: Matthew 12:46-50

While he was still speaking to the crowds, his mother and his brothers were standing outside, wanting to speak to him. Someone told him, "Look, your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to speak to you." But to the one who had told him this, Jesus replied, "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" And pointing to his disciples, he said, "Here are my mother and my brothers! For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother."
- Matthew 12:46-50

I never steal other people's sermons, but I do steal from myself. So let me begin by quoting from my last Mother's Day sermon in 2004.

"Mother's Day is," I wrote, "above all, a celebration of women, recognition of certain qualities, abilities, activities, sensitivities and spirit. When Adam was walking around the Garden of Eden in a funk, Eve was given life, bringing a fuller life to Adam. When God wanted to come to earth in human form, the one indispensable person was Mary, who graced the event with her joyous faith."

When Jesus broke all the rules by resurrecting from the dead, it was the women who first believed and rejoiced. And when the Christian Church prides itself on surviving for 2,000 years, there is one simple, indisputable fact: women are the backbone of every church. So, on Mother's Day, it is fitting to celebrate women … and learn from them.

It is said that every Mother's Day sermon is really a testimony to the preacher's mother. And that's not surprising. I'm informed by my experiences, and you are by yours. I also know that Mother's Day is perhaps the most poignant, even painful church day, and that colors how we celebrate it.

Growing up, the Mother's Day tradition in my church was to give everyone a carnation. If your mother was living, you got a red carnation. If she had died, you got a white carnation. The idea, the intent, the thought behind that tradition was sweet. The reality was harsh. For some reason, I continued that tradition as an adult, when I became a pastor. But I stopped it when my mother died; I didn't want a white carnation.

The other dilemma with Mother's Day is that it includes some people and excludes some people. We're not all mothers, we're not all women, and sad to say, not everyone has a precious memory. So it's worth making the extra effort to celebrate not only mothers and motherhood, but also mothering and all the examples in life of people in general, women in particular, whose lives touched us, shaped us, strengthened and encouraged us; all the women who have taken on mothering roles: the obvious, like stepmothers and foster mothers and adoptive mothers; and the not so obvious, like den mothers, Girl Scout leaders, coaches, teachers, aunts, friends, neighbors. Mothering can come in all shapes and sizes and relationships and genders. In my neighborhood, we had sort of a "collective mother." You were constantly being mothered, which was a euphemism for monitored, smothered, and even punished, by a whole host of neighborhood adults who didn't actually give birth to you. But they watched you, watched over you, watched out for you.

I remember the first time my parents went away for a month's vacation, leaving me alone in New York City. After a month, when my folks got home, Mrs. O'Malley across the street came over and gave my mother an hour-by-hour accounting of everything I'd done for a month, day and night; she remembered things I'd forgotten. She was our neighborhood mother. I was in big trouble! So that sets the table for this year's Mother's Day sermon, whether we are one or not. There is a dilemma about Mother's Day. It is about mothers. It is about mothering, something we can all appropriate; and, since this is worship, it is about God. God, mothers, and mothering, all wrapped up together.

We all know John Giannicchi in our church. Johnny Boots he's called, our resident blues singer, with his own blues band, a guitar virtuoso and songwriter. A couple of weeks ago I said to Isabella, his 8-year-old daughter, "Isabella, what are you writing? When are we going to get you up here to sing? And this week, that young child, Isabella, sent me this song, Here are some of the lyrics she wrote. It's called "Reaching Higher."

Reaching Higher Points in Life

by Isabella Giannicchi

If you reach higher points you'll never touch the ground
But if you do, you just start up again … who cares who you are?
So if you climb up -
(chorus) up up up

You'll never fall down where the ground awaits for you.
And at the top of the mountain whoever you are and wherever you are
You'll be …
(chorus) up, up, up

Then you'll never come down
(chorus) down, down, down

And you'll think to yourself
Did I really get too high
That I really touched the sky
Where secretly I know
That the ground awaits below
So if you ever go up,
(chorus) up, up, up

Then never come down …
Where you're touching the hands of God

That's a song about "mothering." That's what mothers do. That's what mothering is all about, making sure you "reach the higher points in life, making sure "if you fall down to the ground you just start up again," making sure "you really get so high you touch the sky … you go up, up, up instead of down, down, down … and you touch the hands of God."

That's what Mary did for Jesus, that's what my mother did for me, that's what good folks, good neighbors, good coworkers, good church people do for others. We take one another "up, up, up," and if we "fall down to the ground we just start up again till we touch the hands of God." That's a mother's instinct.

I saw something sad this week. I was at a high school girls' softball game. It was tied 0 - 0, bottom of the 11-th inning, bases loaded, two outs, a line drive hit to the left fielder. If she catches it, the inning's over, no run scores, the game goes on … if she catches it … but she drops it! They lose. I watched the next 15 minutes unfold. No one went up to that left fielder. No one talked to her. Not a teammate, not a coach, not parents in the stands, not me either. She could have used some mothering, that special mother's touch; some folks have it, some folks don't bother.

When I was thinking about this sermon, a phrase kept running through my head. Forgive me, I know it's simplistic, an oversimplification, and a stereotype, but it's relatively true: some people will always say to you, "Why on earth did you do that? How could you?!?" But other people, mothers, they say, "You can do that!" It's a simple thing, but it's a big thing.

This is a good day to look at Mary, the mother of Jesus. We all know the basic story. She was a young woman, "betrothed," the Bible says, to Joseph, sort of between engaged and married. God chooses her to be the mother of the Messiah, to be the human side of Jesus' life, and she agrees to do God's will, obediently, faithfully, confidently. That's what gives us the Christmas story. Mary gives birth to Jesus, and God's great plan of salvation for the world is set in motion, thanks to Mary. Mary then escapes with her family, escaping what the Bible calls "the slaughter of the innocents," the attempt to kill whatever child was supposed to grow up to be the next "King of the Jews," so the Holy Family escaped to Egypt. They were refugees, exiles for two years. Illegal aliens in a foreign country.

The next thing we know, Jesus is 12 years old. In Jerusalem, scaring the daylights out of his parents by going off on his own for three days, hanging out in the temple, "listening and asking questions," the Bible says, when his worried parents finally find him after three days, Jesus says, "What'd you expect? Didn't you know I would be about my father's business?" (Luke 2:49)

That sets the stage for today's Scripture lesson. Jesus is now 30. He has started his public ministry. He's stirring things up. He's taking on the powers that be. And people are already turning against him. (Mark 3:20-22) Even his family was worried about him. So in Matthew 23:40, Jesus' whole family shows up to talk to him, sort of a "family conference," maybe an "intervention." Maybe they were afraid for him. Maybe they hoped to save him from himself. We don't know. The Bible just says, "Someone told Jesus, 'your mother and brothers are outside; they want to speak to you.' And Jesus replied, 'Who is my mother? And who are my brothers? Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven, they are my mother, my brother, my sister.'"

Where I grew up, someone would have said, "that boy has some mouth on him," and that's not a compliment. I don't mean any disrespect or blasphemy, I believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Savior of the World, I believe Jesus healed the sick and raised people from the dead. But he "had a mouth on him."

When I was growing up, I did a lot of things to annoy and disappoint and irritate my family. I got off easy for most of it … except for one thing: disrespecting my mother. My father wouldn't tolerate that, not one iota, not for one moment. I wasn't allowed to "have a mouth" on me. But my mother never let it come between us. Neither did Mary.

There is something special about mothers, motherhood, and mothering. There is! And for the millionth time in my life, I'm going to emphasize this special quality of mothering is not limited to mothers or even to women. It is an attitude. It is an approach to life. It is a quality. It is a gift experienced across the generations, across the genders, across the roles of daily lie. Birth mothers, adoptive mothers, step mothers foster mothers, Godmothers, grandmothers … these are the most obvious. But also aunts, friends, coaches, teachers. But also all the male equivalents: uncles, stepfathers, grandfathers, yes, even other kids, and even church members.

Jesus was very clear: "Whoever does the will of my Father in Heaven, whoever does God's will makes this world a tiny bit better, a tiny bit more Christ-like, a tiny bit more motherly, "That person, Jesus said, "That kind of person is like my mother. That's my family."

I'm going to close with two stories. We don't need a long sermon today! We need to get outdoors, enjoy the Dogwood Festival, spend money, and remember the wonderful women in our lives. So, two stories of mothering: I quit smoking. Most of you have been too kind to mention that I smoked. My house smells of smoke. My clothes smell of smoke. I started smoking a pipe when I was 18. I've quit 20 zillion times, always with the same method: I take $100 worth of pipes, break them in half, and throw them in the woods behind my house. Then I take about $20 worth of pipe tobacco and flush it down the toilet. Then, three days later, or three hours later, I drive to the store to buy more pipes and tobacco. But I quit, fittingly enough, on Ash Wednesday.

Elizabeth Starr walked out of church on Ash Wednesday and said, "I quit smoking," and I just looked her right in the eye and told her, "Well, if you do it, I'll do it."

And for weeks we kept each other going, encouraging, laughing, teasing, uplifting, right to this day! And I finally put into practice all the advice Annie Stebbins has given me. Annie's been with Smoke-Enders for years, and I've been picking her brains and then ignoring her advice for a decade! She told me I had to change my routine if I wanted to quit smoking, my life's patterns, to break my own personal cycle of smoking.

So finally I walked into my back study, threw out my favorite chair and my favorite cushion, gave away my favorite desk in my favorite room. Now my life's routine, my life's patterns, my life's cycle is transformed, I would suggest, by two women who "mothered" me. Their mothering qualities, their "Maryness," if you will, their gentle encouragement and practical advice, accomplished something in me I had failed at my whole adult life.

Yes, that's "mothering." I think the great untold story of the Bible is about Mary, all the ways Mary stood by Jesus, even when he "had a mouth on him," even when what he was doing didn't make sense. Mary stayed, a little gentle encouragement, a little practical advice, a little nudge in the right direction, a little correction, a little reminder that "hey, you may be the Son of God, but I'm your mother - listen to me." And I think we know he did. That's why Jesus was able to tell folks what kind of person any person can be to be motherly. Jesus knew first hand a great lady who did the will of his heavenly Father.

Now, the last story. I got a check in the mail this week, a sizeable check for our church's capital campaign, with a letter. The letter said that the check was a gift to our church in honor of a wonderful lady, Jessie Linderoth. Let me give you the background. One Sunday I preached one of my usual sermons about how anybody, any of you, everybody can make a difference in someone else's life. After church, Jessie thanked me for the sermon and said she wanted to help somebody, anybody who could use a little attention, a little kindness, a little friendship. So I linked Jessie up with an elderly lady, a member of our church, who had had a bad fall.

Jessie started visiting that lady and also took the housekeeper under her wing. When that housekeeper, a refugee from the old Soviet Union, came down with cancer, Jessie single-handedly waded through the medical bureaucracy, found her a hospital, a doctor, a surgeon, and a payment plan, then found another housekeeper to substitute, and drove the lady to the hospital … all while continuing her friendship with the original elderly neighbor. This is what the family wrote to me:

We make this gift in honor of Jessie Linderoth, and with enormous gratitude to you for having sent her to Mother.

Jessie has been a true Godsend. Her lively spirit enlivens Mother's spirit, which itself is a blessing, but Jessie has taken her mission far beyond that. She has found ways to enhance every occasion, and her kindness, generosity, energy, and enthusiasm have been unbounded. Whatever the need, she fills it often before we recognize it; her resourcefulness solves any problem. And she insists it's all because she enjoys doing it - a tough Christian model to try to live up to. Mother's caregiver said last week with a smile that she's been reading her Bible more deeply than before and trying to be the best person and do everything right, so she will get to Heaven next to Jessie.

The Trustees of our Foundation are happy also that this gift will be supporting the activities of the vibrant church community that you and Rev. Ward have created."

That's the true spirit of Mother's Day, whether done by a mother, a friend, a neighbor. "When you do the will of my Father in heaven," Jesus said, "that is my mother." Mary showed us how. Jessie showed us how. Our mothers showed us how. Maybe we'll show somebody how.

Humor: Mother's Milk
Students in an advanced Biology class were taking their mid-term exam. The last question was: Name seven advantages of "Mother's Milk." Worth 70 points or none at all.

One student, who had partied late the night before, was frustrated to think of seven advantages.

He wrote:

1. It is perfect formula for the child.
2. It provides immunity against several diseases.
3. It is always at the right temperature.
4. It is inexpensive.
5. It bonds the child to mother, and vice versa.
6. It is always available as needed.

And then, the student was stuck. Finally, in desperation, just before the bell rang, indicating the end of the test, he wrote:

7. It comes in such cute containers.

He got an 'A'.

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