Sermon for Mothers Day (May 12, 2019)
Title: Love and Honor
Scripture Texts: Deuteronomy 5:1-3, 16; I Corinthians 13:1-13
Rev. Liz Aguilar
Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista, UCC
Happy Mothers Day again! There are many clergy who refuse to preach about Mothers or Fathers on these important holidays. I grew up in a culture and church community that did celebrate these special days. Today, I am grateful we are doing so, as well.
I do not however, want to preach about what it means to be a holy mother. Or perfect children. I want however, to encourage families to honor each other.
To do that I want to look at what the word honor meant in Hebrew tradition and language- it comes from the words, kabbed which means to give something its due weight or importance. The Hebrew culture was largely built around a shame and honor system. Actions and decisions were taken accordingly. The idea of honor was not foreign to the Israelites, therefore, when Moses gave them the 10 Commandments.
If you look back at what Egyiel read in the first three verses of Deuteronomy 5, notice that Moses reminds the Israelites that the 10 commandments were an, A) covenant and b) meant to be a contemporary covenant with them when he said, The lord our God made a covenant with us at Horeb. Not with our ancestors did the Lord made this covenant, but with us, who are all of us here alive, today.
So, keeping your part in a covenant and honoring others was key to those first followers of God. These are still key to us, as well.
Its interesting however, that the families in the Bible are not perfect. There are many examples of family dysfunction. Joseph and his brothers who sold him into slavery. Can and Abel. Esau tricking his father out of the blessing that was supposed to be for his brother and his mom being the one to give him the idea to trick his dad ! David and his kids who hurt each other and passed on their hurt onto next generations The list goes on
All this to say that if you dont come from a perfect family, know that you are in good company!
Of course, these stories are actually not meant to be examples of how to behave but of what not to do. And in each of these stories what they have in common is that they did not hold on to the covenant they had made with each other, with God or with their parents. They did not honor one another, in other words.
This brings me to the fifth commandment- honor your father and your mother as the Lord your God commanded you, so that your days may be long and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
How do we show honor to our parents?
Presbyterian pastor, Eugenia Anne Gamble said this about the commandment to honor our parents: It is about how we honor life and all of the people who bring and nurture life in us. Because God chose to offer the gift of life to us through human parents, those parents are to be given a place of honor in our lives as the instruments through which God draws each of us in being and into relationship which God. This honoring is called for even if biological parents have not been a part of our lives. Honor is not, however limited to our biological parents. The call to honor parent applies to all of those whom God has used to parent us in one war or another. These ones act for God and therefore are worthy of honor.
So, therefore, whoever has brought life to you in a nurturing, healing way is your parent and you are meant to honor that person in how you live and act out the Covenant. (from Love Carved in Stone; PW Horizons Bible Study 2019, Louisville Kentucky, 2019.)
I have friends who refer to others as their spiritual mother or father. I never understood this growing up, however. As an immature child I would get jealous if someone thought of my parents as their parents. Later I felt proud, however, because I knew it meant that they considered my parents their spiritual parents. People they loved b/c they had felt love from them. Many had left their own parents behind in Latin America. They needed a new family and that was their family of faith.
We all have had someone who has nurtured us along the way. Some of us were blessed to have a parent who could do that; who showed us the love of God. Others of us may have had someone else in our life that showed us what Gods love looks like, how to respect ourselves and others.
Today we live in a world where there is much division and hurt. Today, we need to be able to be that nurturing person for someone else. You see, we arent just meant to be blessed but to be a blessing to others.
You might recall the first time we hear the word, covenant come up. It was in Genesis when God called Abraham to leave his home and God makes a covenant with him. But God states to Abraham that he will bless him so that he may be a blessing to others.
There are people who need you and me to be a blessing to them. To show them the love of Christ.
My prayer is that we can continue to honor one another in ways big and small. That we show the kind of love that the Apostle Paul wrote about in Corinthians. Notice that his list is not only about what love looks like but what love is not, as well.
Let us be a church that shows love and honor to one another. To the stranger to the vulnerable and yes, let us honor those who gave us life.
And now I would like to call forward all of the mothers and people who have been like mothers, to come forward so that we may bless you and pray for you.
A Prayer of Blessing for Mothers on Mothers Day
Blessed be the works of your hands, daughter of God
Blessed be these hands that have touched life.
Blessed be these hands that have nurtured creativity
Blessed be theses hands that have held pain.
Blessed be these hands that have embraced with passion.
Blessed be these hands that have tended gardens,
Blessed be these hands that have closed in anger.
Blessed be these hands that have planted new sees.
Blessed be these hands that have harvester ripe fields
Blessed be these hands that have cleaned, washed, mopped, and scrubbed
Blessed be these hands that have become knotty with age.
Blessed be these hands that are wrinkled and scarred from doing justice
Blessed be these hands that have reached out and been received.
Blessed be these hands that hold the promise of the future.
Blessed be the works of your hands, the words of your lips, and the heart that you share.
. May you be blessed, Daughter of God, and disciple of Christ
(Prayer adapted from the writings of Diann Neu from Soul Weavings, A Gathering of Womens Prayers)