Mothers Day resources

 

ELCA Mothers Day

Call to Worship
The spirit of God calls us from many places;
some of us come from busy homes with many people
some of us live alone.
We are a part of the family.This week has been different for each of us;
some of us have had happy news we want to celebrate
some of us have faced grief and need to cry.
We are members of God’s family.

Yet we all come to this same place;
all of us seeking God’s presence in our lives
all of us seeking God’s presence with each other.
Together we become God’s family.
(1994, Liturgy Outside)

Call to Worship
We are the people of God.
Together we are family.I am married,
and single
and in a covenant relationship.
We are the people of God.
Together we are family.

I was married,
and in a holy union,
and never married,
and married twice,
and widowed.

We are the people of God.
Together we are family.

I am older
and younger,
and inbetween,
facing my first serious relationship,
knowing the joy of love,
enduring betrayal,
tasting the grief of a dying partner.

We are the people of God.
Together we are family.

I am an only child,
and have ten siblings
and have raised two children
and no children.

We are the people of God.
Together we are family.

I am part of a family,
the human family
the family of faith
my family of origin
the family of my choosing.

We are the people of God.
Together we are family.

Let us worship God together.
(2001, Liturgy Outside)

Opening Prayer
Most Gracious Lord, Master, Messiah and Saviour,
we greet you with all humility.
You are the first and the last,
the divine light and the spirit of guidance, alpha and omega. Your light is in all things, Your love in all beings:
in a loving mother, a kind father,
in an innocent child, in a helpful friend,
and in an inspiring teacher.
Allow us to recognize you in all Your holy names and forms.
May the message of God reach far and wide,
illuminating and making the whole of humanity
as one single family in the parenthood of God. Amen.
(Source: Church of Scotland Starters for Sunday)

A short vimeo dedicated to mothers, and particularly to mothers on Naura in long term immigration detention. A really appropriate video clip to show on Mothers’ Day as a lead in to prayers for others perhaps, or at the start of the service.

A call for a national day of prayers:
for mothers of people in Australia’s immigration detention camps
As we celebrate and spoil our own mothers this Sunday, let’s also pause together to pray for the mothers of people who are in detention, particularly people on Manus Island at this time of great uncertainty. Most of us know how worried and anxious our mums can get!
Mothers and families – who may be across the other side of the world – are the forgotten victims of detention. The uncertainty of knowing when your child will we be free, or safe, or healthy is a debilitating burden to bear.

A PRAYER FOR THE MOTHERS OF PEOPLE IN AUSTRALIA’S OFFSHORE DETENTION CENTRES
Creator God,
Who was with the Mother of Moses as she suffered the loss of her missing child,
Who was with the Mother of Jesus as they fled together through the desert,
And who loves the mothers of the young men who have been treated so cruelly on Manus,
See the fears they carry in their bodies,
See them tossing in their sleep.

Creator of Justice and Mercy,
Who inspires in the heart of every person a desire to be good,
Who weeps about the violence of our collective sins,
And who loves our politicians who are responsible for those young men.
See the fears they carry in their bodies,
See them tossing in their sleep.

Creator of Community,
Who is the embodiment of perfect community,
Who challenges everyone to love their neighbour and their enemy.
And who invites everyone to eat together at the table,
Grant us the vision to see all those mothers who are not in front of us today,
Grant us with courage to welcome the stranger.
(Source: ACRT)

Mother’s Day – with Shades of Blue
God,
Mother of us all,
You birthed creation in a word,
And have seen it unfold as it will.
We pray with mothers.
We pray with children.
We pray for those who have and love their children.
We pray for those who have and love their mothers.
May the bond of love ever grow stronger.
May issues be resolved with grace and forgiveness.
May joy, gratitude, pride and love be the core of such relationships.
We pray with those whose children are distant.
We pray with those whose mothers are distant.
Time, space, circumstance or death can separate us from those who we share a bond of love.
We pray with those who mother those not their own,
Whose mothering stretches to the needs of those needing mothering.
We pray for those who have lost children to death.
We pray for those who have lost mothers to death. Help all who grieve to find comfort and support in their sadness.
We pray for those who have given up their children for adoption
We pray for those who have been given up as children for adoption.
May all in find love and home in their circumstance.
May all find a firm identity in being loved by those who love them, including you.
May those who seek reconciliation and reunion find hope and closure.
May those who deal with the complexities of reality find peace in their circumstance.
We pray for those who choose not to be mothers.
May they be happy in their choice.
May they not know judgement from others.
We pray for those who cannot be mothers, even though they long to be.
May they know love and comfort.
May hope, meaning and purpose find them in new ways,
Bringing love and fulfilment to their living.
We pray for us all – mothers and children.
Grant us all, mothers and children, wisdom, compassion and connection
Lead us into courage to speak with love and honesty,
To listen with care, compassion and understanding,
To moderate our reactive feelings with grace and forgiveness.
Where there is distance, hurt or division, may we find what is needed to work for healing and wholeness.
Where there is warmth and joy, may this build to abound.
In all things may we know love,
Love from you,
Love from loved ones
Love from others
Love eternal.
We pray this in the name of Christ the Son.
Amen
(Source: Jon Humphries, Prayers that Unite)

“I’m a mother from Nauru Detention Centre. As a mother, I want to share my pain with Australian mothers on Mother’s Day. Unfortunately it’s been three years that we are in detention centre and we see our kids’ pain and we are unable to help them. It’s been three years that our kids don’t have birthday cake! /they don’t have candles, and they don’t even have birthday presents. I as a mother have been a witness for all of these. Our kids don’t have a proper place to sleep, sit or even play. It’s been three years that our kids are away from basic rights of life. It’s been three years that our kids don’t get any proper education. It’s been three years that the Australian Government has stolen our kids’ best chances of their lives away from them. It’s been three years that our children are looking for freedom. They only want a normal life and nothing else, a normal life in a country such as Australia where they can play freely, go to school and be happy. These are the very first rights of a child which have been stolen away from them for three years. Seriously, what is their sin? So where is the ‘children’s rights’ that Australia believes in? Or maybe they think only their children deserve to have rights? It’s been three years that our children are looking for the ‘lost justice’ and they haven’t seen anything but cruelty. Where is that ‘human right’ that Australia claims? Our children have got too many questions in their mind which unfortunately no one is able to answer. It’s been three years that the Minister says that there are no kids in detention. He doesn’t count our kids, Aren’t our kids like other kids? What kind of human right does allow women and children to be used for politics? Three years of our children’s lives are being ruined. Who is responsible for this huge cruelty? Kids of Nauru detention have mental issues, as well as their families. Poor Nauru detention kids have to see their parents depressed and unable to even talk to them. It’s a part of the pain of all mothers on Nauru, which I wanted to share with other Australian mothers on Mothers Day on behalf of all the mothers. Ask them to free our kids from this hell. You Australian people have power and if you want you can change many things.
And lastly, I want to thank all advocates that try to make our kids smile by sending gifts. We really appreciate that but unfortunately nothing can make them happy anymore except a ‘normal life’. We love you and respect you and we ask you to please please please free our children from this hell.

Loving and nurturing God, we thank you for mothers.
For all they mean or have meant to us.
We thank you for the love they have shown and the care they have given.
For the many times they gave us hugs and held us close.
Loving and nurturing God we thank you for the qualities of mothers.
For their patience, their kindness, concern and understanding.
We thank you for the part they play in our lives,
and for this special day of saying ‘thank you’ to them.
Loving and nurturing God we thank you for the wonder of your mothering.
As a mother protects her children, you watch over us day by day.
We thank you for your arms which always encircle and protect us,
Your hands shield and deliver us from harm.
Loving God, we pray for those for whom Mother’s day brings heartache rather than a celebration.
We pray for those who have never known their mother or whose mothers have died.
We thank you for your mothering heart and your tender love ,
Which nurtures all who feel abandoned and lost.
We wait with those who long to be mothers but as yet have not had their own children.
We grieve with those who ache because they will never be mothers.
We thank you for their mothering hearts which long to be expressed.
Lord in your mercy, mother us all with your love.
We pray for those who struggle with the way their children have chosen to live their lives.
And grieve with those who are orphaned or have a difficult relationship with their mother.
We thank you that when we long for a mother’s love you do not abandon us.
Lord in your mercy, mother us all with your love.
May all of us have the comfort of knowing that your mothering love is constant,
Your understanding is perfect and your compassion is never-ending.
We thank you that you gave birth to all of us with delight and joy,
Lord in your mercy mother us all with your love.
Amen (Christine Sine, Godspace)
(Check out more on Godspace here)

A prayer for mothers
For mothers everywhere shielding their children from danger, especially refugees and asylum seekers, many vulnerable and homeless on the borders of our countries.
For mothers protecting their children, made homeless after natural disasters and changing weather patterns.
We give thanks for our own mothers, for the life we have been given and the love that nurtured us into who we are today.
We prayer for all mothers who bear pain through their child’s suffering, for the mothers with children in chronic or terminal illness; for mothers who suffer because of the child’s violent action as terrorists and extremists. We pray for God’s healing, wholeness and peace in their lives, as we hold and name those know to us before God.
We pray and give thanks for our own local Churches and faith communities, praying for a deepening of spiritual life and vision to reach out with compassion and love.
Lord take our thoughts, and turn them to prayer.
Lord take our prayer and turn it to love,
Lord take our love and turn it to Life
In Jesus Christ today.
(Ann Wren)

Beginnings
Beginnings—
just tiny stirrings
which disturb our even surface,
prodding us into new and different shapes…
claiming their place
on our horizons—
stretching us
where we would not go—
yet we must.
Driven by life forces
deeper than our dreams,
we dare to rise
and grasp towards
the new young thing—
not yet born—
but insistent—
like a tight seed bursting
for life,
carrying within it
all the power
of a woman’s
birthing thrust.
(Edwina Gateley, from her book There Was No Path So I Trod One, 1996, 2013)

Faith of Our Mothers sheet music
Faith of our mothers, living still
Fresh in our memories, held in our hearts
Here or in heaven, their deeds live on,
Spreading the joy God’s love imparts
Chorus:
Faith of our mothers, holy faith,
We will be true to thee to death
(words to other two verses on sheet music – click on link)
New words: Lawrence A. Wik, 2013

Some Mothers Day 2014 resources on Textweek.

Erin Wathen on ‘why I don’t do Mothers Day at church’. Very thoughtful.

God of all Living and Loving:
How pleasant it is when women, men, and children live together in unity! How noble is your creation and the world that you have made!
How blessed we are to receive the gifts of life and love!
We are thankful for families,
where scattered piles of stuff testify that we live fully in the moment; where the noise of laughter and the silence of sadness are freely shared;
We are thankful for families,
where we find sanctuary from danger and judgment; where words of love and openness are the rule of life.
We are thankful for families, where our differences are the spices of life;
where our unity is something that we can always take for granted.
We grieve for families, where violence and rejection are living realities; where hearts are broken, and dreams are shattered.
We grieve for families, where walls of protection become fortresses of isolation, where language is a weapon of destruction and hate.
Help us to understand,
those families whose identities are different from ours;
the ways of loving, parenting, partnering and working together for peace.
Help us to dare, to stand strongly against hate and divisiveness;
to encounter our differences with love and respect.
This we believe:
that love is stronger than hate;
that hope is stronger than despair,
and that good is stronger than evil.
In the name of the One who is Loving and Living, Amen.
(Source: Church of Scotland Starters for Sunday)

Dr Barry Kirby at the National Press Club. He is working to save lives in the maternal health area in Papua New Guinea.

Dr Barry Kirby at the National Press Club, May 2015

And this one on the remarkable Dr Barry Kirby in PNG who saw a need related to maternal deaths when he was a builder in PNG and set out to do something about it – returning to Australia to train as a doctor, and returning to set up child birth centres in PNG. In just 3 years, childbirth deaths have plunged by 75% for the health centres he supports. (Consider sending hope not flowers, to support his work).

Mourning with mothers who have not brought their babies home – a thoughtful article from Sojourners. And this one on miscarriage and this to those who are experience the loss of being ‘motherless’ on Mothers Day.

And topically, this one about mothers of black young men shot in America who won’t be coming home.

National Geographic: Mothers Day turns 100:It’s surprisingly dark history (from 2014)

Maternal images of God: A short video compilation of biblical verses and images, by Christine Sine. Uploaded on Youtube. A link to the texts on Christine’s page here.

This wonderful Celebration and Lament for Mother’s Day by Rev Sarah Agnew (from In Prayer and Protest (Pocket Poets #8)
(I’ve also written about Sarah’s prayer on another blog with ideas for prayers for others).
As a community, we take time to pause and give thanks for the gift of mothers.
Shining a light on the gift, shadows fall, and we acknowledge the shadows, too.

We celebrate and give thanks, each of us, for our mother. The woman who carried us in her womb, gave birth to us, brought us into life.
We lament, each of us, separation from our mother at different times, through conflict, distance of place, death.
We lament, seek to forgive and be forgiven.

We celebrate and give thanks, each of us, for those who have been as mothers to us; our aunts and pseudo-aunts, big sisters, friends, mentors and teachers. The women who have nurtured, taught, encouraged, shaped us with love.
We lament, each of us, the women who have caused us pain, who have abandoned or neglected us, mistakenly or intentionally caused us harm. We lament the hurt we have caused to women, our friends, colleagues, neighbours, sisters, aunts and mothers.
We lament, seek to forgive and be forgiven.

We celebrate and give thanks, together, for the women in our communities. That women and men are different invites us into partnership, invites us to share the burdens and the joys of life. For the many strengths of women, their gifts of peace-making, nurture, education, entrepreneurship, healing, wisdom, creativity, endurance, collaboration, physicality – and so much more, we are grateful.
We lament, together, that women are still discounted because they are women, in our culture and in others. That the difference between women and men is seen as threatening, a power struggle, a competition or a hierarchy, is not, we know, your dream for us.
We lament, seek to forgive and be forgiven.

We celebrate, those of us who are mothers and grandmothers, the joy and privilege it is to collaborate with you in the creation of life. We give thanks for our children, their uniqueness, the delight we find in watching and helping them grow.
We lament, those of us who are not mothers and want to be, or who are mothers of children who have died.
We lament, and have no words for our grief.

We celebrate, we give thanks, for you, our mothering God, whose wings enfold us like those of a mother hen, who gives birth to all that lives, who loves fiercely, protectively, and with great delight. We celebrate what we know of you as like a mother.
We lament our turning from you and causing you pain, our rejection of your gifts of life and love in so many ways. We seek your forgiveness again and again.

Again and again, God welcomes us home, as a mother welcomes her children.
Again and again, God celebrates us, God’s children, and delights in watching and helping us grow.
Come, now, under the wings of God; come, now, into the warmth of Love.
You are forgiven. You are loved. Precious child of your Mothering God.

Monday Meditations - mother heart.001Dr. Tony Campolo is a well-known and highly-respected, inspirational speaker. Over the last several years, Tony Campolo has spent much of his time traveling around the world on speaking tours.

Meanwhile, his wife, Peggy, has chosen to stay home and give herself and all that she has to the “Bringing Up” of their two children, Bart and Lisa. On those rare occasions when Peggy does travel with Tony, she finds herself engaged in conversations with some of the most accomplished, impressive, influential, sophisticated people in the world.
After one such trip, Peggy told Tony that sometimes as she visits with these powerful people… she finds herself feeling intimidated and sometimes even questioning her own self-worth. Tony said to her: “Well, honey, why don’t you come up with something you could say when you meet people that will let them know that you strongly value what you do and you feel that it is dramatically, urgent and crucial and important.
Well, not long after that, Tony and Peggy Campolo were at a party… when a woman said to Peggy in a rather condescending tone, “Well, my dear, what do you do?” Tony Campolo heard his wife say: “I am nurturing two Homo Sapiens into the dominant values of the Judaeo-Christian tradition in order that they might become instruments for the transformation of the social order into the kind of eschatological utopia God envisioned from the beginning of time.”
And the other woman said: “O, my, I’m just a lawyer.”
I like that story because it reminds us that there are a lot of important jobs in the world today but not one of them is more important than the job of being a mother.
Tony Campolo adapted by James Moore, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com

I must candidly confess that when I was in seminary the 16th chapter of Paul’s letter to the Romans didn’t do much for me. It struck me as being boring, nothing more than a long presentation of people’s names, most of whom I could not pronounce; I usually skimmed over that part so I could get to what I considered to be the real Gospel. Over the years I have greatly changed my attitude about this particular chapter and I have discovered that there is much more to it than I had first imagined. For example, it is interesting to note that of the twenty-six people who Paul singles out for his personal greeting, six were women. Now that strikes me as being rather interesting, since Paul has frequently considered to be a male chauvinist. I think it also shows us the tremendous influence that women had in the early church. In the male oriented first century Palestine, it is telling that Paul could not describe the church without mentioning the significant role of women.
Verse 13 of chapter 16 is particularly interesting and it is one that scholars have struggled with over the centuries. Paul writes: “Give my greetings to Rufus, chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” Now this statement could be taken two ways. It could mean that Paul had two distinct women in mind–the mother of Rufus and his own personal mother. Or, he could be saying: “I salute Rufus and his mother, who is like a mother to me.” If that is what he meant, and most Biblical scholars agree that that is indeed what he meant, then it raises some interesting speculation. When and where did Paul meet Rufus’ mother? Did she nurse him through some serious illness? Did she receive him into her home for an extended stay during his missionary journeys? How did this woman and Paul form such a close bond that he refers to her fondly as being like his mother?
Mark tells us that Simon of Cyrene, the man who carried Jesus cross, had two sons: Alexander and Rufus. Was this the same Rufus to whom Paul was speaking? If that is true, his mother would be Simon of Syrene’s wife. No one knows for sure who this remarkable woman was who served as a mother figure for the great Paul. But it really makes no difference, because what he writes makes an excellent springboard for a Mother’s Day sermon…
1. First, mothers should be saluted for their tenacious love.
2. Secondly, mothers should be saluted for the tremendous impact they have.
3. Third, mothers should be saluted because where they are, that is where home is.
(Source: Sermons.com)

Unconventional Mother’s Day Gifts
This Mother’s Day take a moment to think of all the mothers in the world who are in need. There are millions of women in the world living on less than a dollar a day. There are women in this country who are wondering how they are going to feed or clothe their children from day to day. There are children who need medical attention that their parents may not be able to afford. Anyone who has ever had to worry about such things can deeply sympathize. For those of us who have escaped such worries, we can only imagine the level of instinctive stress that uncertainty can provoke.
There are many ways to celebrate Mother’s Day, but here are a few unconventional suggestions that will prove to your own mother that she did a good job raising you. How about dropping off a box of diapers (nappies) and/or a case of formula to a local food bank or women’s shelter? If you have some baby furniture or clothing that your own children have outgrown, how about donating that stuff to a local charity? Does our local hospital have a fund for children who need care? Are there doctors in our community or city who volunteer in clinics overseas who might need supplies? There are countless ways to help support mothers locally and globally. Let your own mother know that you were thinking about her and all of the many things she provided for you along the way…and that you did a good deed in honour of her. It will make her proud. (sermons.com)

Music for Mothers Day
check out suggestions from Singing from the Lectionary
Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, God of the women (tune: Be thou my vision) – new hymn
God, we praise you for the women
by Dan Damon.

“MOTHERING GOD, YOU GAVE US BIRTH
1. Mothering God, you gave us birth
in the bright morning of this world.
Creator, source of every breath,
you are our rain, our wind, our sun.

2. Mothering Christ, you took our form,
offering us your food of light,
grain of life, and grape of love,
your very body for our peace.

3. Mothering Spirit, nurturing One,
in arms of patience hold us close,
so that in faith we root and grow
until we flow’r, until we know.
Words and Music: Jean Janzen, based on the writings of Juliana of Norwich
Permissions: Copyright 1991. Abingdon Press, admin. by The Copyright Company.

A thought from Biblical maternal images of God by Shiao Chong: It is true that despite biblical maternal images of God, the Bible never used the feminine gender for God, and never called God “mother”. In an ancient patriarchal culture, it is not surprising that the ancient Hebrews used masculine pronouns for God. But I don’t think that was to suggest that God has a masculine gender. According to the Hebrew scholar Samuel Terrien the reason why the ancient Hebrews never called God “Mother” was that “they reacted against the allurement of the Mother Goddess cult because they somehow sensed the difference between true divinity and deified nature.” (Till The Heart Sings: A Biblical Theology of Manhood and Womanhood, Eerdmans, 1985, p. 60) According to Terrien, ancient mother goddess worship, unlike certain modern-day revivals, was never about empowering or glorifying women. It was about glorifying Nature, with a capital N. It was born not from a veneration of female humanity but rather born from a confusion of the divine with nature; in essence, Mother Earth was worshiped as Mother Goddess. Thus, all that are primary issues with nature, i.e. fertility, sexuality, life, health and death, were associated with the ancient Mother Goddess cults. These religions tend to merge sex with religious ecstasy and economic security (agriculture and husbandry). It is not surprising, then, that many of their religious rituals involved sexuality, even temple prostitutes. Hence, the Old Testament’s refusal to call God “mother” was not a misogynist act. It was an attempt to emphasize God’s transcendence over nature and to steer away from the ancient goddess religions that over-emphasized divine immanence in nature. Neither was calling God “father” a glorification of human fathers or males but rather, the Old Testament consistently merged the images and metaphors of the fatherly God with motherly compassion and love, as the maternal images above suggest.

Mothers’ Day Liturgy Mothers’ Day Liturgy
(two voices)

On this day, we honour those who have mothered us and cared for us.
For some, this will be a birth mother, and we may wish to express our grateful thanks. We pray that our lives may reflect the love they have shown us.
For others, it will be the women who raised us, who were our mothers in childhood – an adopted mother, older sister, aunt, grandmother, stepmother or someone else. We may wish to express our thanks for those women who held us and fed us, who cared for us and kissed away our pain. We pray that our lives may reflect the love they have shown us.

We pray for older mothers whose children are grown.
Grant them joy and satisfaction in how their children’s lives unfold.

We pray for those with adult children, but whose lives are still shaped by their children’s needs and cares.
Grant them strength, patience and wisdom.

We pray for new mothers experiencing changes they could not predict.
Grant them rest and peace and confidence as the days unfold.

We pray for pregnant women who will soon be mothers.
Grant them patience and good counsel in the coming months.

We pray for mothers who face the demands of single parenthood.
Grant them strength and wisdom.

We pray for mothers who enjoy financial abundance.
Grant them time to share with their families.

We pray for mothers who are raising their children in poverty.
Grant them relief and justice.

We pray for the challenge of blended families, and those who take on care of others children.
Grant them patience and understanding and love.

We pray for mothers who are separated from their children.
Grant them faith and hope.

We pray for mothers in marriages that are in crisis.
Grant them support and insight.

We pray for mothers who have lost children through illness, or death come too soon.
Grant them comfort that their children are held in divine embrace.
We pray for mothers in developing countries who die in childbirth due to inadequate maternal health care, or whose children die too young.
Grant that generosity may abound, that money will be released for resources, and to attract skilled personnel who can support the women and children.

We pray for mothers who have terminated pregnancies.
Grant them healing and peace.

We pray for mothers who gave up their children for adoption.
Grant them peace and confidence that the children will be held in good care.

We pray for adoptive mothers.
Grant them joy and gratitude for the gift of life entrusted to them.

We pray for girls and women who think about being mothers.
Grant them wisdom and discernment.

We pray for women who desperately want, or wanted, to be mothers.
Grant them grace in their particular and often private sense of loss and grief.

We pray for all women who have assumed the mother’s role in a child’s life.
Grant them joy and the appreciation of others.

We pray for those people present who are grieving the loss of their mother in the past year.
Grant them comfort, and confidence that loving continues in how we live our lives.

All are invited to come forward and light a candle for those who have mothered us and/or for those who have particular concerns about individuals.

(Adapted. Source: http://worshiphelps.blogs.com/worship_helps/2006/05/a_mothers_day_l.html)

Mothering God,
on this day set aside in our nation to praise mothers and motherhood,
help us to give thanks to you for our mothers
and for those who have been like mothers to us.
Rejoice with us for all those, male and female, older and younger,
who have shown us your tender grace, mercy, and love.
Support all who have entered into the joyous calling of motherhood,
especially those who raise children alone or in the face of great trial.

Do not let us forget about those who might feel left out on this day:
those who do not know their mothers,
those whose mothers are far away or have died,
those mothers whose children are far away or have died,
those who do not or cannot know the joy of children and motherhood.

Help all your people to know the gift of a mother’s love
in and through whatever manifestation you offer it,
and continue to show us your love through all who are mothers to us.
Source: http://www.liturgylink.net/2011/05/04/prayers-for-mothers-day

A Litany for Mother’s Day adapted from Peggy Emerson
Mothers come in many different forms, and today we celebrate them all!
Mothering God, we draw on the image of you as one who nurtures, who gathers, who protects.
We pray for those women who have nurtured us as mothers and who are no longer with us and whom we miss dearly.
We reflect upon those women who have influenced our own lives in so many ways, and we give thanks.
We pray for the women around the world who are working long days and nights to raise their children right now. We pray for the mothers around the world.
We pray for mothers who have fled violence and difficult situations, including refugees, and who have been separated from their children, or experienced the tragedy of the death of a child. We pray for mothers living in uncertainty and facing the unknown.
We pray for all the women who are expecting, but aren’t quite mothers yet! Thank God for the soon-to-be-mothers.
We pray for families where a mother’s illness has led to an early death. We pray for those who step in to help with the care and nurture of the children, including extended family, and we especially for children in Africa who take on the role of mother when they themselves are still only children.
We pray for the women who took in others’ children through adoption and foster care.
We give thanks for these mothers with hearts so big.
We pray for those women who have lost a child to death and must carry on. We pray for strength and courage for the mothers who have faced grief and loss.
We pray for women whose children have grown and whom they now seldom see. We pray for mothers who are at a distance from their children.
We pray for all the women who have desperately wanted to have children of their own, but chose instead to mother everyone else. We thank God for the mothers in spirit.
We pray for women leaders in Aboriginal communities who seek to provide a protective environment for children, and whose commitment is to work for a healthy place for children to live and grow.
We pray for those troubled by the prospect of motherhood, perhaps too soon, or too few resources to care for a child.
Mothering God, we offer these prayers to you this day. Hear the prayers of our own hearts.
A silence is kept.

 

Mothers Day Proclamation
Julia Ward Howe – Boston 1870

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: “We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of a devastated Earth a voice goes up with our own. It says “Disarm! Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.

As men have forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his time the sacred impress not of Caesar, but of God.

In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

Anti war origins of Mothers Day
Stan Duncan (2005) writes: “I have a bulletin insert about the anti-war origins of Mothers Day. During the service I often say, everyone who has ever had a mother stand up. They all laugh and most shouffle to their feet. Then I say, “some of us are mothers, some are not; some are fathers, some are not. But, good or ill, good relationship or bad, all of us would not be here without them. On at least this day, if not others, we should all honor those who birthed us and brought us into the world….etc.” I also send out mothers day cards to the middle aged non-mothers in our congregation, saying something like, “Mothering is not an act of biology. Bless you and thank you for “mothering the children in our church school (or some similar task they perform); we wouldn’t be the same without you.”

Pastoral sensitivities re Mothers Day
Don Hoffman (Chreston Christian Church, Washington, 2005) writes: It’s important to acknowledge both the good and the bad experiences people have in relation to motherhood, or you end up not talking about the elephant in the living room…. At the very least in the pastoral prayer I try to list all the positive and negative experiences. Quick list off the top of my head: Those whose mothers were abusive, neglectful, addicted, or who enabled fathers like this. Those who grew up in single-parent families, or who never got the chance to know a mother/father. Those who have not been able, for whatever reason, to form adult relationships with their parents. Those who wish they could become parents but can’t. Those waiting/wishing to adopt. Those fortunate enough to have adoptive parents who loved them. Children of blended families with step-parents.  Those who never had an opportunity to become mothers. Those who have had to “mother” their own elderly, crippled, or demented parents.
There should be two messages: 1) the person sitting next to you may have had a different experience of what mothering is all about than you’ve had; 2) the church (and God) intends to validate whatever experience you may have had, but also to hold up an ideal which every one of us can only partially achieve, but should aspire to.

Remembering hidden pain
Remember in the prayer time those whose mother has died and those mothers who have lost one or more of their children to death.

Thanksgiving: for love (Bruce Prewer)
– focus on God’s love, and how it is expressed in community

Let us give thanks for the remarkable gifts of God’s creating and redeeming love, the loving that casts out all fear.
For the love that frees us to ask questions and explore, to frame doubts and investigate new possibilities, to build theories and then cross-examine them.
We thank you, God of adventurous love.

For the love that enables us to marvel at our own existence, to ponder and remember, recognise our own needs and affirm our own knowledge and purpose.
We thank you, God of determined love.

For the love that helps us to communicate with one another, to express trust and respect, share heartaches and visions, to convey love and mercy.
We thank you, God of reconciling love.

For the love that inspires us to warmly encourage those around us, to affirm and build up, comfort and enlighten.
We thank you, God of nurturing love.

For the love that liberates us to celebrate the world around us in poetry and song, to delight in shapes and colours, intricacies and patterns, awesome forces and deep mysteries.
We thank you God of visionary love.

For the love that encourages us to express something of our faith; for creeds and prayers, hymns and readings, discussion groups and sermons.
We thank you, God of creative love.

Above all else we thank you for the love that allows us to admit that we have no words in which to adequately describe the process of faith in Christ, the awesome worship of our God, and the holy wonder of the Spirit. We thank you for that point where our love becomes wordless adoration. Through Christ Jesus, who is the pure glory of your loving. Amen!

Sermon – Sophia Wisdom: a sermon for Mothers Day by Rev Dawn Hutchings
(posted on Progressive Christianity)

 

 

 

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.

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