I have nightmares about Mother’s Day and church to be honest with you. I’m pretty sure there are pictures somewhere of the kind of fashion abuse my mother put me through on that day. Pastel colors of all kind. Those German mountain climber outfits. (Or were they Swiss? Austrian? Does it really matter?) Clip on ties. Complete with the world’s most uncomfortable shoes and posing for picture with your sister who seems just a little too happy about the whole thing.
Today, that tradition will continue all across our country. I am praying for all those young men who will endure that kind of horror. In many churches, the nightmare will continue by handing out flowers, making moms stand up and giving out applause to the oldest mom, the mom with the most kids, and perhaps even the youngest mom.
We won’t do that at Western Hills.
It’s not that I’m finally getting even with my mom for all those years of dressing me up like some rotund sheep herder from Switzerland. Far from it. I realize now how unique and blessed I was to have the mom that I have. Her love for us was never in question…it was evident in everything she did. The foundation of my spiritual heritage is due in large part to her. Every game, every event, when I got sick, my darkest moments, my proudest moments – my mom has been at everyone.
And she’s an incredible grandmother while we are at it.
But that’s not the norm.
One of my dearest friends will not be in church today. Why? In her words – “Mother’s Day is the annual reminder of how jacked up my life is. I’ll stay home.” She never had children of her own. Her own mother was abusive.
Another dear friend never went to church on Mother’s Day. She had four beautiful kids but going to church on Mother’s Day seem to only remind her of the one child she aborted as a teenager.
They are not alone. How many women wrestled with not being a mom – at least a physical mom? How many people are recovering from having bad moms or no moms? What about foster moms? What about those who have lost their moms, lost a child?
Being a mom is an incredible blessing, having a great mom is double that. We will take a moment and recognize that this morning. But I’ll also recognize the hurt as well.
We can do that as Christ-followers – recognize the hurt and the ugly. We can do that because we know it’s not permanent. We can recognize that life isn’t always good, it’s not always perfect because we worship a man who is also God who will one day have the final word over all sin, all hurt, all failures.
But let me tell you something wonderful, a mystery I’ll probably never fully understand. We’re not all going to die—but we are all going to be changed. You hear a blast to end all blasts from a trumpet, and in the time that you look up and blink your eyes—it’s over. On signal from that trumpet from heaven, the dead will be up and out of their graves, beyond the reach of death, never to die again. At the same moment and in the same way, we’ll all be changed. In the resurrection scheme of things, this has to happen: everything perishable taken off the shelves and replaced by the imperishable, this mortal replaced by the immortal. Then the saying will come true:
Death swallowed by triumphant Life!
Who got the last word, oh, Death?
Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?
It was sin that made death so frightening and law-code guilt that gave sin its leverage, its destructive power. But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!
Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:51-57