Posts Tagged ‘Mother’s Day’

Mother’s Day

Friday, May 9th, 2014

God frequently employs the image of a loving mother to help us understand God’s love. Christ did the same in very real world descriptions in which he literally compared his love for us to that of a mother hen brooding over her chicks. Even the word “mercy” in the Hebrew carries the meaning of “womb-like mother love.”  And maybe what those images drive at is grace, the grace a loving mother holds her child with.

To this day I can still call my mom and know everything is alright, that I will always have a “home”, and that somewhere somehow there is a person who sees me deeply not out of limitations but out of beauty!   So the concept of motherhood and spirituality are not far apart.  Mother’s eyes, God’s eyes, not far apart.  A different view of “parent” as a building from within versus a control from without….

God “justifies” (read: “validates”) creation not by parental punishment from without (which really changes nothing except perhaps behavior), but by positive enticement and transformation from within, which is surely a far greater victory and achievement of “justice” on God’s part. This concept of grace is first called mercy, or hesed in Hebrew, the ever-faithful, covenant-bound love of God. I would go so far as to call grace the primary revelation of the entire Bible.

So happy Mother’s Day to all!

A Mother’s Day Sermon

Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Attentive Love
Preached at Pittsburgh New Church
May 13, 2012
Rev. Chuck Blair

Here we sit on Mother’s Day. For some it stirs found memories of a mother – attentive and devoted. To others there is a void – a missing voice. Yet despite those differences we can celebrate on this day the positive experience of motherhood done well. Celebrating motherhood is celebrating attentive love.

Attentive love is largely self-defining. It is a focused love. A present love. My experience of a father’s love is more observational. In a division that is admittedly simplistic, fathers watch and care over the big picture. Mother’s are often times more attentive – more aware of details and daily needs.

At its best it is attentive and just that. “Attentive” with no “so that.” It is just attentive, accepting a child where they are as they are.

And that is where we can see how that attentive love is so reflective of God’s love. “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you.” Isaiah 66. As such this love gives rise to possibility and permission.

Possibility means an attentive love that in its unconditional grounding speaks to the object of that love the sense that life is wide open, that the promise is great. And not only is life wide open, but that we have permission to explore that horizon. Possibility and permission.

And that kind of love is not Pollyannaish. Note – our text from Isaiah speaks to comforting, comforting that occurs when life inevitably fails. And how is that we hold that “comforting” to have it most reflect God’s love?

It starts with the simple trust, trust that they have an Intelligence – God given that will lead them. That includes an Intelligence – God given – that will lead through times when their life falls apart and possibility and permission apparently “fail.”

And as our agenda for our children falls apart maybe, just maybe God is opening “possibility and permission” for us as parents or caregivers. There is no way to “save” others from the difficulty of life. They have their own journey, everyone blessed with their own relationship to God. In that vein, parenting or caregiving is important but we can never make ourselves THAT important. None of you, in a sense, frankly are all that great as parents or caregivers! We all fall short. We all are less than what our loved ones need or deserve.

There is no way to really know what we are doing. Ego driven “Control” wants to arrive in the guise of being a “good parent.” And with that desire, comes our individual work of regeneration – a candid conviction of lives balanced on feet of clay. And maybe, within that acknowledged imperfection lays the perfect parent!

So the comforting of God has two things – the comforting of simple trust. And it likewise has the simple acknowledgement of surrender, of letting go.

So we learn over years to trust, surrender, and love. These three allow us to be attentive to our children or those in our care without needing “it” to be any particular way. That does not mean life without boundaries, which is the inevitable retort of false duality. There are boundaries. But those boundaries are shaped and cemented by love. Those boundaries and part and parcel of “The Pact.”

[The] pact is the Lord’s close connection with us through love or to put in another way, [it] is the presence of the Lord with us in love and charity. The Word calls the pact itself a pact of peace. This is because peace symbolizes the Lord’s kingdom, and the Lord’s kingdom consists of mutual love that is the only thing that affords peace.

For in the end, God created YOU to be the mother, father, sister, brother, uncle or aunt to THAT child. So fill the moments you do have with attentive love, knowing the imperfections add to the sweetness of the journey. It is the journey of the “good enough” – the “good enough” mother, father, sister, brother, uncle or aunt to THAT child. If you find yourself called to do more, of course do more. That may well be God’s call. But do it with selfless attentiveness, as an imperfect offering, trusting and surrendering at the same time.

God’s call in this life and the next is to “abide in His love.” The call is not to be perfect, to be right, to be in control. It is to live into that Love, that greatest of Loves. “When you see this your heart will rejoice.” (Isaiah 66:14) Possibility and Permission ABOUND in that place.

You are not here to verify,
Instruct yourself or inform curiosity
Or carry report.
You are here to kneel . . . .
TS Elliot

Mother’s Day

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

In celebration of Mother’s Day, I want to honor the challenges and blessings of parenting. As one author, on the birth of  child, we hear rounds of congratulations.  What we don’t hear are the rounds of truth telling, that yes, it is time for congratulations, and a time to acknowledge a new degree of vulnerability, born into one’s life right along with that child.  From that point on, a piece of our heart will be walking the earth.

And what we learn of love over that time, is incredible.  Imagine how it starts – mother and child – each looking deeply into each other’s eyes.  There is a communion there that is unique to motherhood.  I know I could observe it but it was not mine – it was my wife’s and our beautiful children’s.  That love though must move over the years from the back-and-forth of the mother-child bond to something far greater.  It will break out of that circle, sometimes gracefully and sometimes not. And what is born in that breaking is a greater love rippling out beyond that particular relationship.

So happy Mother’s Day!  From the single moms, to the struggling moms, to the moms who woke on Mother’s Day to breakfast in bed, we wish you God’s blessing.  May we be reminded of Mother Teresa’s Quote, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.”  That is the very engine of motherhood.

Mother’s Day

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

May 8th is Mother’s Day.  We want to invite you to join us at NewChurch LIVE that day.  A service like this needs to start with the acknowledgement that many of us harbor the warm feelings of home as we talk about mothers.  For others however, the experience was not so warm.   Parents, like individuals, and children, are a mixed bag!

And taking the time to honor our actual mothers or those who played that role in our lives is important.  I was thinking about fairy tales.  The tale is most frequently of the kindly child who looses a mother only to have an evil step mother take the role of parent, i.e. Cinderella, Snow White etc…. We know at a deep level the importance then of motherhood.

So join us on Sunday, May 8th.  Celebrate your mother or  an important woman in your life.  Send me a photo and/ or some text – chuck.blair@newchurchlive.tv – and if I receive enough, we will show it during the service.