Encouragement for the Journey 15 / 5 / 2012

An inclusive Christian community in Auckland, New Zealand

Encouragement for the Journey 15 / 5 / 2012

Encouragement for the Journey

Greetings fellow traveller

Today, we celebrate, another mother’s day. The word mother evokes all kinds of thoughts and images, which flood into our awareness and consciousness. A trend in recent years is the commercialism of Mother’s day, this can ever so subtly turn our focus away from the precious gift and unique place that a mother has within a family and indeed within our society. By this I mean, there is a modern advertising ploy that portrays the value of a mother, being determined by the value of the gift bought and then given. There will be some mothers who will not be remembered by a gift today, are they any less important and precious. NO.

Being a man writing this, I do acknowledge I can never fully understand or appreciate the special bond that exists between a mother and her child. A mother who carries her child in her womb, feels it moving then goes through the pains of childbirth, indeed, I say a resounding, YES, a mother is a very special and unique person.

An often forgotten aspect of mother’s day is that for some mothers, on this day, it is a time to remember a child whose physical presence is no longer in their lives, yet is alive within the memory banks of their heart. Then there are the mothers who when young, gave their child up for adoption and have never seen nor touched their child again. Within these mothers, grief and loss has made their presence felt, touching the heart with sorrow and sadness, leaving a void, which can never be filled.

Mother’s day for me means different things, and one aspect, that I find helpful, is that it reminds me, of the motherhood of God metaphor. I appreciate that the word ‘God’ is filled with all kinds of negative and positive imagery, for ultimately we come face to face with unknowingness and mystery. This day offers an opportunity to bring balance into our conversations and imagery about the divine mystery we name as God. We can attempt to describe and perceive for God in terms of feminine descriptions rather than solely masculine ones. When we take this approach we may well find ourselves becoming more loving, compassionate and following in the footsteps of Jesus.

I leave you with this poem from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,

Nature

As a fond mother, when the day is o’er,

Leads by the hand her little child to bed,

Half willing, half reluctant to be led,

And leave his broken playthings on the floor,

Still gazing at them through the open door,

Nor wholly reassured and comforted

By promises of others in their stead,

Which, though more splendid, may not please him more;

So Nature deals with us, and takes away

Our playthings one by one, and by the hand

Leads us to rest so gently, that we go

Scarce knowing if we wish to go or stay,

Being too full of sleep to understand

How far the unknown transcends the what we know.

Meanwhile Peace in the Dignity of Difference

Alf