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Mothers of a new life

May 11, 2014

3rd Sunday after Eastermother's day

“He himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else…”

Acts 17:22-28a

Today I’d like to relate my preaching to Mother’s Day. You may ask, “What relationship does this reading from the Apostle Paul have to Mother’s Day?” The common link is that it is a proclamation of the Gospel. Today, as I said, I’d also like to preach about mothers. But I won’t just say tender words and beautiful poems which, by the way, mothers deserve. Today I want to refer and honor Christian mothers especially as educators in the faith and proclaimers of God’s word.

When we speak about mothers we generally think of women who have given birth to children. That’s the first definition of mother. But women who educate with love and dedication even though they may have not conceived children are also mothers. There are also many mothers who educate in the faith without ever having conceived children. These women are also performing an aspect of the task of mothering, which is to educate and to teach. Many times we said fondly in schools that teachers are the second mom. This is because they continue educating and teaching and, ideally, these women give their own love to children while educating them.

This love is also a very important aspect to the task of women who are Sunday school teachers; in most churches they are women. Why is that? It is clear that the capacity to raise children is an inborn character trait of women.

 

 

One of the most important things that we want to highlight about women is that they are primarily responsible for conveying culture and education due to their own nature, often through the close and natural bond they have with their children. Women conceive and give birth to children, breastfeed them, feed them, raise them and educate them. Historically, family life was different from today. Women were left at home to manage the household while men, in ancient times, went hunting or, more recently, went out in search of work. This balance was maintained for centuries although this has now changed greatly. Changes are always good if they seek equality between man and woman. But there is something that will always be in women and that is the innate, genetic capacity in the human race that women have to bring up their children.

We have often heard words like motherland or mother tongue; why is that? For the same reasons, women transmit the first words of the language that a child will speak and they teach us to love our home, our land and our customs. That’s why our countries are often called the motherland; it has a connection to home, the origin of life and to mothers.

 

 

If these traits exist for a genetic or biological reason, how do translate for the field of raising children in the faith? They apply in exactly the same way. The task of teaching the faith is often put forth from an early age in an optimal way by women. She is the first person who, when the child begins to talk, teaches them to join hands and they say a prayer together, or teaches them a prayer or shares a hymn or some praise. And sometimes the best achievements in the life of faith occur when people have mothers, grandmothers or other family women who have played a crucial role in religious education.

 

 

The apostle Paul tells us today that God “himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else.” This is something we want to remember today. He also urges us to live a certain way with regards to Jesus Christ through the comparison of the vine and the branches. God wants us to remain united with Him. Without Him, we can do nothing. Without the presence of God in our lives, our lives are meaningless and we cannot achieve salvation. God is the one who gives life and breath and all things. That was the clear message from the apostle. If that message is transmitted to us from the earliest childhood on, it will have great potential to bear fruit. Of course, Paul was announcing this to grownups, people who still did not know God’s message. But I think that if this message is declared in the first years of life of the person, we will have conferred a great work of blessing upon those little people who are beginning their life.

 

 

For that, of course, mothers come into play, even though they may not be birth mothers and may be aunts, grandmothers or stepmothers. Nevertheless, it should also be said that a very important condition is that these mothers be believers. When we talk about teaching the faith, it is not like simply teaching some kind of rhyme. This does not constitute an education in the faith. While it’s also good that religious customs be passed along, we must not be confused about passing on faith in education. When we talk about teaching the faith, we are talking about teaching children to live with Christ through our words, gestures and way of thinking and talking about God and the church. In a single word, we pass along the faith through our testimony. As the Chinese proverb states, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” The best Christian testimony we can teach our children is when we have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and are trying to live a life as true Christians. Children learn from what they see us do more than from what we tell them to do. If we want them to read the Bible, the best we can do is to have them see us do it. If we want them to pray, it is best that they see us pray and have a daily conversation with God. If we want our children to go to church, we have to go with them first. And so on.

 

Someone once gave his bitter testimony of what he had sown with his children. For all of their young life had forced them to go to church, perhaps not with love but rather with strictness. When the children were grown, this person saw that they didn’t go to church. He said to them sadly, “Why you don’t go to church, did I not teach you during your childhood that you have to go to church? And then one of the older children spoke up and said with great honesty, “Dad, you took us to church all of our life and we were taught about the church. But don’t you also remember that every time we came home from church you criticized the church, criticized the pastor and criticized and badmouthed other members of the church. Do you want us to go to that place which you criticized so much? You have taught us to hate the church and now we don’t want to go to a place that we have learned through your words to be not good.” The children learned what his father taught them. They learned not to love their church because that was what their father conveyed to them through his example in life.

 

And so it is for every one of us, for in every family there are things we could change and review. The task given to educators is very important. Mothers are wonderful, but the greatest treasure is having Christian mothers, not just religious mothers. What is the difference between mere religion and true Christian life? Religiosity is nothing more than a way to pass along the customs of the church. True faith is to live a lifestyle of prayer, love for God and the church, love for the word of God, love of neighbor and to make sincere attempts to better God’s children despite many of our failures and faults.

 

 

We hope that we may have more Christian mothers and educators who have given their lives to Christ and who have truly decided to live a life in Christ and to not merely spread religious customs. Religion as morality is good, but it does not save us.

We want to pray that there are more and more mothers who learn that the only way to survive in this life comes from being united to Christ as the vine is attached to the branches. Women have a great capacity for upbringing and transmitting teachings to their children. What a blessing it is to have converted mothers who are believers in the church. These women can transmit the living faith and the practiced faith based on their love for God and neighbor. When churches begin to have such mothers they are revitalized with real blessings.

 

Today, I wish that all mothers, whether or not they are birth mothers, to understand that God can use them greatly for blessings on generations if we truly accept Christ as the center of our lives and accept that the only way to find meaning in life is by staying attached to Him. Women have more than the ability to give life. Women also have the ability to lead young to a new birth, a new kind of life with Christ through their upbringing.

 

Let us pray:

God, today we want to bless all the mothers of our church. Especially, bless mothers who have accepted you and have placed you and transmitting the faith as a first priority. Allow more mothers to accept and give their lives for the benefit of little ones that may be in need of a start to living under you word. Amen.

 

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