Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Sermon

Texts: John and 1 John

My mother, like many of our mothers, spent the years that my sister and I were in the home being a home-maker.  That was her profession, and she did it well.  It wasn’t just about housework or making breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  It wasn’t just about hauling my sister and me in the car to gymnastics meets, tennis practice, boy scout meetings, or youth group.  I sense, now that I have had the chance to make a home for my own children along with my own wife, that home-making was and is about creating a haven: a place where my family could rest assured, where we could “be ourselves,”  a place where we could be loved.


Wesley’s notes

8. God is love - This little sentence brought St. John more sweetness, even in the time he was writing it, than the whole world can bring. God is often styled holy, righteous, wise; but not holiness, righteousness, or wisdom in the abstract, as he is said to be love; intimating that this is his darling, his reigning attribute, the attribute that sheds an amiable glory on all his other perfections.


No, it is not just the mother’s responsibility to create a home where the Divine attribute of love can be nurtured and strengthened in us.  Especially in this day and age when we find most couples sharing the responsibility of “bringing home the bacon.”  It is indeed the responsibility and the joy for both partners in a marriage to have this task of “home-making” before us. 


But today we lift up the feminine element of that task and we celebrate the mothers in our midst who have contributed so much to this element of our lives.  Making a home for us. 


I’m speaking so much about home-making, because it is the focus of our scriptures today.  Today we lift up God’s activity of home-making.  We hear from the letter of John that “if we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.”  The Gospel of John shows Jesus comparing himself to a vine and his disciples to branches.  “Abide in me and I will abide in you, and you will bear much fruit.  Because apart from me you can do nothing.”   Abiding—Peterson translates this word in the message as “Make your home in me as I do in you.” 


Mothers show us quite literally what it means to make a home for another living being in them when they carry children in their wombs for 9 months, waiting to bring forth life.  I think this “maternal instinct” that Rob Bell speaks about in the video is created during this time.  Because once a woman brings forth a child, she “lives in them” in a very real way. 


It is this same kind of nurturing relationship that Isaiah ascribes to God.  God has a fierce maternal instinct about us as well. 


 Wesley's notes:

21. And this commandment have we from him - Both God and Christ. That he who loveth God love his brother - Every one, whatever his opinions or mode of worship be, purely because he is the child, and bears the image, of God. Bigotry is properly the want of this pure and universal love. A bigot only loves those who embrace his opinions, and receive his way of worship; and he loves them for that, and not for Christ's sake.


This is how we make a home for our God.  We make things familiar to God by reflecting God’s nature in our lives.  We love others without hesitance because God is Love.  This is how we bear fruit in the world.  It only takes Love.  All you need is Love. 



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