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Mothers Keepers Of Faith

May 10, 2015

Sunday Rogate/ Mother’s DayMadre que ora

“Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.  Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete”. (23)

John 16:23-33

On this day I want to preach on two issues; they are related to each other, as we shall see. I want to preach about an important issue for the church, which is the topic of prayer. But I also want to honor the mothers of this continent, as mother’s day is celebrated on this day, and refer to them especially in this subject of the Christian life which is the important topic of prayer.

Mothers, by nature, not only carry children in their wombs and bring them to life, but also feed them bodily. God has designed it as such. And God has also placed in women’s nature, whether that mother has been a biological mother or not, the natural predisposition to care. It has been scientifically proven that average women who are healthy, especially in the physical, and mental sense —and we could also add spiritually— possess an innate sense of survival. Why is this? Well, it may be because they have been genetic carriers, caretakers and keepers of life from the origins of the human being. A detail, for instance, do you know why women, on average, gain weight more easily than men and find it harder to lose weight than men do? It is because they have a genetic program to conserve fat and man does not have this program. That fat, thousands of years ago, in times of starvation and food shortages, maintained and kept alive the life they were carrying inside. And we could talk about many other facts that have to do with the genetics of women. But on this day, we want to refer especially to the ability God gave women to preserve another part of their being, and that is the spiritual one. Women are the keeper of life per excellence, so they treasure their home, their customs, heritage education and language. Therefore we talk about our ‘mother tongue’, and not ‘father tongue’. The woman is one who brings up, who teaches the first knowledge. The woman is the one that will teach children to survive, and if the woman is not well oriented, she won’t give them a good education. And that’s very bad. Women have the capacity to influence for good or for bad. Women have been educated by other women and have learned from their mothers and will continue to do so. And all this logically also applies to the spiritual life, the life of faith. The woman is the one who has the main influence on spiritual education. When the mother is a converted Christian, when a mother is a believer, when a mother believes in God, by true faith, not only by religion —that is, by a mere religious heritage or custom—, then the mother will be of great influence on the future spiritual life of their children.

So on this day we honor mothers through this preaching. We want to inform men, especially young men, when looking for a woman for life. The Bible says: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies.” Proverbs 31: 10ff.
Women don’t lose their qualities and sense of survival for not being Christian, but in the education to her young, she won’t highlight the approach to God at all.

Who teaches us to pray, who teaches us to join hands and to turn to God in prayer? Very often do women. Who brings us to church mostly? That doesn’t mean that men are unable to do it. It sometimes happens that a man has to take on that task when the woman is not a Christian. But man by nature, due to his work, won’t have the available time that women have to be near to their children: “A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies”
And this verse is especially true for our Christian life. If the family is the foundation of society, women are forming the family. This preaching wants to honor women and to thank them and note the worth of the work that Christian mothers did and still do with their children and even their grandchildren, because often the task of mothers must, or can be extended to the grandchildren if mothers are unable or unwilling to fulfill this task. And this preaching wants to encourage mothers to find the true way to Christ, so they can be the mothers Jesus wants.
How is it that it is only the mother who can teach us to pray? No, not only they. The father can do it too, but as we said, the mother spends more time with their children and has a great influence on the person. Mothers still have a great influence on mature children and mothers should still use it for the mission and the work of God and to please the Lord.

A study of modern wars showed that even mature and manly men, in moments of agony in a battle, in their moments of greatest terror, as told by other soldiers, have shouted “Mom” with a piercing scream.
Mothers and even grandmothers, whether or not they are biological mothers, have the important task educate people in the faith, as requested by our Lord. But not in religion or religious customs that may not be accurate to that which Jesus calls us today with his word.

I remember my mother; she was a woman of faith and conviction. She definitely helped to secure my belief in God. But she was not a sweet, sappy, super-spiritual saint who carried her Bible everywhere she went and greeted people with “Praise the Lord.” No, she was a real, normal person with real challenges–and she had a real faith in a real God. She had a relationship with Him in the deepest part of her being. It was like bedrock beneath every obstacle she ever faced, every emotion she ever felt, every decision she ever made, and every victory she ever gained. She did not flaunt it, she did not spiritualize it, she simply lived it out.
And that could be seen in her participation in the church, in every service. She brought us to church with conviction, as did my father. Not for a fulfillment of something or for fear of something. We went to church not because our family has belonged to a church for generations, or because it was part of our culture, race or language or because we were just Lutherans. We went to church every Sunday because we needed God and wanted to be obedient to Him and loved Him, and so that God would bless us and continue blessing us.

And that’s what mothers today have to live out and teach their children by example and with their words. And that is also permitted to be done by grandmothers. Let us remember Jesus’ words: “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” (Mt 10: 32-33)
In many churches there is a lack of prayer. I realize, when I visit, if a house is prayed in or not. I also realize in which house they believe in prayer and not, or perhaps prayer is well-intentioned, but it is a prayer that lacks confidence. I realize in which house the church is believed in as a religious tradition and I realize in which house it is taught that going to church is for love and obedience to God.
There are many people who have not yet discovered the great power of God and it shows if there hasn’t been a personal encounter with Jesus Christ in which they have decided to surrender to Christ in truth. When we surrender to Christ, our whole Christian life has a before and an after. And so it is with prayer. Prayer is not a ritual or a posture where we repeat certain phrases or words that have been handed down from generation to generation. Prayer is a conversation with God. Many people say that they cannot pray and that they don’t know how to pray, especially out loud. If you can talk, then you can pray, for prayer is talking to God. If you have difficulty in prayer, both quietly and aloud, it is perhaps that you are lacking ripeness in your life of faith.

“Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full.” This is Jesus’ promise. If you’ve asked, you’ve done well. If you’ve never received, then there is a problem there. Do you often get less than what you ask for? Then there may also be a problem there. Often this problem is not due to a lack of faith, but rather a lack of commitment to God. That is, to be obedient to God’s word, to what God asks us to do in the Bible. And it ends when we give our lives to Christ; when with fear and trembling we put Christ and his church first in our lives.

Some questions for this Mother’s Day: When did you hear your mother pray? On what occasion would she talk to God? What did she teach you about prayer and communicating with Him? How does this affect the way you pray today? What would you like to tell God that you’ve been reluctant to say to Him? I encourage you to open your heart to Him and listen for His voice.

Today, Jesus is giving us one of the greatest promises: to listen to our spoken, natural, spontaneous prayers, those which come from a lively and obedient relationship with Him. It is a unique opportunity if you have not learned this, perhaps from your mother. In your life, there may be the opportunity to learn and accept it today. And to all mothers and grandmothers, God is also inviting you to accept this offer and continue passing it on to generations to come. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” In this spirit I wish you all a very happy mother’s day!. Amen

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