Mothers’ Day

From the Dean

A regular article written by Phillip Jensen in his role as Dean of Sydney at St Andrew's Cathedral.

Originally Published:
2nd May 2008

Tagged: motherhood

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I think it was the early Easter that has thrown me but I am not yet ready for Mothers’ Day. I know Christmas comes around quicker each year but Mothers’ Day seems to have snuck up faster still.

Mothers are the conveyors of culture. They are the ones, more than any other, who teach us the way of life. They are the ones who often introduce little children to the gospel truths of God. Their sacrifice in raising children is usually more tangible and, sadly, more real than fathers.

So what are your plans for next week? Let me help you – for it is really simple – bring your mother to the Cathedral and then take her out to lunch afterwards. This is a fairly easy tradition to get into. It is a no fuss, easy day for all concerned.

There are many variations on the theme.

For some of us Mothers’ Day is a little sad, for our mother has died. If she died recently it is more than a little sad. After more than thirty years I still feel the sadness of my own mother’s death and am quite pained about my wonderful mother-in-law who died eleven years ago. Still, coming to church on Mothers’ Day gives me opportunity to thank God for the two women who “mothered” me. It also gives me the opportunity to support other mothers in their joyful day.

Some of us are mothers. It is not so much what are we going to do for our mother as what do I organise the family to do spontaneously for me? Again, tell them that you want them to come with you to the Cathedral and then take you out for lunch. Who can resist a mother’s request on Mothers’ Day?

For some of us it is not so much Mothers’ Day as Grandmother’s Day. The principle is the same. Grandmothers and grandchildren should come to the Cathedral to celebrate the great gift of life that God has given us through the creation of Eve.

When we celebrate Mothers and Grandmothers we are celebrating God’s good gift of creation. It is a time to rejoice and to honour our mothers as the scriptures command us.

But for some of us, the whole Mothers’ Day is much more bitter and sad. It can be such a sad day for those whose children have died, or are alienated from us. It can be equally sad for those whose mother was cruel or neglectful and with whom we are alienated. It can be such a sad day for those who have struggled with infertility – longing to be mothers but unable. Sometimes this is the social problem of the relationship that never happened. Sometimes it is the physical problems of not being able to have children. The reason does not vary the sadness. It can be really sad for those who were adopted and feel the pain of not knowing their mother.

Yet we know that God is sovereign. He is working his purpose out in each of our lives. So this is not the day to hide from our sadness and disappointments but the very day to bring them to Him in prayer. Certainly in the Cathedral this element of the day will be remembered in prayer.

The Scriptures say that we should rejoice with others who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). Mothers’ Day is that kind of time. Do not let your weeping hold you back from rejoicing with others. Do not let your rejoicing hold you back from weeping with others.

Let us share with each other the wonderful kindness of God in giving us mothers.