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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Sunday Prayer

I have some personal issues with the celebration of Mother's Day in churches. It is a greeting card holiday, not a religious one. More important than that, however, is the heartache of the folks in our pews who feel left out of the "aren't Mother's wonderful?" celebration. Not all mothers bring back fond memories, and not all women can become mothers. My policy is that I will not preach on the topic of mothers, but I will add mothers and women into the pastoral prayers. Some of the prayer below is inspired by a post by St. Casserole.

Loving God, this is the day that you have made and we gather now to give thanks and come together as your people. My prayer this morning is that by your grace, the Holy Spirit will dance in our worship, inspiring and igniting a freshness in our lives of faith.

Across denominations and across pews, we are all connected by the One who called himself the Vine. We are the branches, called to bear the fruit of your love for us. Help us to hear this familiar scripture story in a new way this morning. Place your word upon our hearts and lead us out to live your story wherever we are.

God, bless our friends who will travel to Atlanta this week for learning and fellowship. Grant them traveling mercies and plenty of joy and laughter.

God, we thank you for mothers...for those who would like to be mothers but cannot... for those who have lost children through death or circumstances... for the women in our lives who are like mothers to us... and for a better world for girls to grow up to be mothers if they so choose.

Bless all who gather this day for worship and praise, for we ask it in Jesus' name. Amen.


  1. This is beautiful. Thank you.

  2. Hallelujah Sue

    I'm with you on this. I don't want Mothers' Day preached. Ever. I feel such a grump saying that, but it's how I really, truly, honestly feel. I haven't been able to vocalise it well, but your way of putting it as a "Greetings card holiday" comes close.

    Thank you for the prayer.

  3. This is indeed lovely. In the Church of England we celebrate Mother's Day in Lent, the Sunday before Passion Sunday, and it is supposed to be a "refreshment day" - the day that apprentices were allowed to go home to visit their families. So though it's bcome a "greeting card holiday in the UK too it does have some root in tradition. And of course it's just as sensitive as you say, wherever and whyever we celebrate it.... I have some friends who simply don't come to church that day.....

  4. See my entry for May 8, 2005, for information on the history of mother's day.
    As you'll see, it was originally an anti-war commemoration in response to those lost in the Civil War. I suggest we reclaim that heritage.

  5. What a lovel prayer. Have sat through some ugly Mother's day sermons. I think the best one I preached was on Hannah. I am not preaching on it today rather on Phillip and the Ethiopian(sp). Will also remember Moms in the prayers. It did have some history and punch and spiritual meaning to it, but like everything else was grabbed up by the greeting card and floral industry for money making purposes. Anna Jarvis tried to get it back, but lost the battle. I think we need to remember that in our churches.
    Thanks for the lovely prayer will use some of it in mine.

  6. I always get a bit squirmy during mother's day sermons. Goodness knows mom's, particularly poor moms, get little enough in the way of real help--childcare subsidies (heck, decent affordable childcare), flex time, access to affordable health care, and so on. And then on this day all the moms are celebrated. Talk about a disconnect. And mom's in other countries, like Africa. Well, maybe we should just all pray for moms in unbearable situations.

  7. I using Philip and the eunuch as a springboard (and pulling in Isaish 56, not in the lectionary, but oh well) to talk about those who nurture us, care for us and help to guide us--they are our mothers, as much as, if not more than (in some cases) out biological mothers. Parenting is a matter of the heart, not biology. SOme of the best mothers/parents bore no children, and some of the worst did.

    Especially in my (GLBT) congregation, where family of origin is a very delicate subject, as well as parenting, I wanted to prsent an alternative view of care and nuture and parenting.

  8. I've never liked Mother's Day as a holiday. It always just seemed like something that encouraged consumerism. I do nice things for my mother all year around -- and my kids do the same for me. The official holiday has always seemed fake to me.

  9. My church has never made a big deal about Mother's Day -- it tends to be simply mentioned in passing during the morning announcements, and if it's touched on during the sermon at all it would only be if there was a relevant tie-in with the sermon text.

    I'm stuck at home today though, so I'm going by past experience. (See my blog -- I discovered a flat tire this morning, so the Chik is "in the house" for the time being.

  10. I mentioned mothers in the prayer, and the bulletin included a "Happy Mother's Day" but I took the opportunity to preach a bit of a history lesson about some of the strong courageous women in the church--early church to 16th century. "Wild at Heart" by John Eldridge is making the rounds in AG churches (gag) and I wanted to dispell some of the nonsense about women. And at the end of the service men prayed for the women...very wonderful moment.

  11. Amen! Thank you for a sensitive prayer, and for so many senstive comments and thoughts... it is a privilige to be a part of this commnity!

  12. Better link -

    BTW, I agree with Sue's feelings about Mom's Day. Whatever its origins, it has become a greeting card holiday.

  13. Amazing prayer, so wonderful to hear and see such support about this day. My addition / contribution would be for the motherless daughters, who whether they lost their mom early on or later down the road; whether it was a loss from suicide, car accident, mental illness, breast cancer, skin cancer or just cancer of the spirit, wander and wonder: WWMD. I am so very grateful for this circle. Thanks revgals.

  14. As the pastor wasn't preaching on it..I did for children's sermon, per request.
    What Day is today? What do mothers do? Mostly mothers care for us. Who else cares for us? Let's thank God for caring for us and for all of the people who care for us.
    I am using basically the same thing for Father's Day.


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