In reading a site that generally mocks all things Christian culture (mostly warranted I might add, but sometimes with a taste of bitterness), I was struct with conflicting ideas upon reading this post.
Mother’s day is something that we usually pass over and think little to nothing of those who may have struggles. What immediately popped into my mind was the idea of the “Mother/Daughter Banquet” idea that dominates most American Churches. While these events are good and can help to foster the bond between mother and daughter, what do you do for girls who have lost their mothers due to death, divorce, or have absent mothers to begin with? What of the mother’s who recently lost a child in a messy custody hearing, or lost a child to death? These banquets, while nice, can sometimes be quite exclusive and unintentionally add on more pain to an already suffering victim. The same stands true for those who are infertile or single.
At the same time, especially in the modern world, we must celebrate the position of mother. Even if our own mothers failed to be good mothers (I should add that I did not have that problem, thankfully), we should celebrate those who are good mothers. We should celebrate those who have lived selfless lives in having children and raising them. Being a mother is a high calling that, unfortunately, not all women can fulfill. This is not to say they don’t have an equally high calling, but it’s difficult to lower the position of “mother” when it is such an extremely self-sacrificial position. She gives up her body to be used for 9 months, and then gives up the next 18 years to put the needs of her child before her own needs. All of this indicates that motherhood, especially in Christian circles, is something to be celebrated. Let us also not forget that Jesus quite often mentioned His mother and while on the cross made sure she was looked after once He had died. We look to the Theotokos and see that it was a woman who raise God incarnate. This fact alone shows that mothers deserve special recognition.
I think in issues like this, where honor is deserved, but such honor can bring harm to others, we have to keep the following passage in mind:
“On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” 1 Corinthians 12:22-26
I find the last part to summarize how Mother’s Day (or Father’s Day, which isn’t as celebrated) should be approached in the church. Rather than gushing all over mothers while ignoring those who might be hurt by such a celebration, we should consider each other’s situations. For those who have problems with Mother’s Day, it would do them well to rejoice those who are mothers and have had good experiences with their mothers. It would be selfish to be bitter or offended by someone having a good mother, especially if that person is part of the body of Christ. We should rejoice with that person. At the same time, it would be selfish to ignore the plight of those without mothers or to women without children. Perhaps the church could tone down the celebration, encouraging private family celebrations, while at the same time inviting those without mothers or women without children to partake in those celebrations. After all, we are (supposedly) a family.