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3 Reminders For Pastors Planning Mother's Day Sunday

Posted by Jamie Byrd on 5/4/17 7:52 AM

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching. While I will celebrate both my own mother and being a mother myself, I also know this holiday can be complicated for some. I know this from my own journey with motherhood and from the countless stories of others. If your church is currently planning how to celebrate Mother’s Day or whether to celebrate it in worship at all, I encourage you to consider and acknowledge these three things in your services.

1. Mother’s day can be a painful day.

My friend and Presbyterian Pastor, Marci Auld Glass sums it up well in her blog post about being pregnant but never becoming a mom. Marci chose to give her baby up for adoption when she was a junior in college and details what it was like to sit in the congregation of her church on Mother’s Day six weeks before she gave birth knowing she was pregnant but would never become a mom.

Her story is both poignant and enlightening on how we can better address Mother’s Day in corporate worship. While it is a day of celebration for many, it can be complicated and painful for others. Whether that pain is from being pregnant knowing you will give your baby up for adoption, wanting desperately to have a child but not being able to, or simply not knowing who your biological mother is, Mother’s Day is not a day associated with joy for many people. The Bible calls us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. In your Mother's Day services, acknowledge the pain that some of your congregants may be feeling, and give them space and opportunities to grieve or seek healing.

Free webinar on giving2. Mother’s Day can be a complicated day.

Remember that this day can be a day filled with contradictions for some. I was a happily married wife with three precious boys when my first husband passed away from brain cancer. Eventually, I remarried to another amazing man who was a widower and had twin daughters. Mother’s Day is not just about me now, Mother’s Day has become a day in which we celebrate all the mothers in our lives.

I celebrate being a mom, I celebrate my own mother for all that she has done for me, and now, my family also celebrates the mother my husband’s late wife was and the mother my late husband's mom still is. It’s complicated. Whether you are wondering who your biological mother is, why you can’t have children, why your own mother might not still be alive, or why you can't have a healthy relationship with your mom, Mother’s Day can be a complicated holiday. Consider telling stories of all sides of motherhood in your services, or there might be people in your congregation who leave feeling very isolated.

3. Mother’s Day can be a day of celebration.

Despite the pain or confusion that for some might be associated with Mother’s Day, everyone can celebrate motherhood in some way. If you are breathing on this earth, a mother carried and gave birth to you. While some may celebrate the mother they have become, others still can celebrate the mother that gave them life, regardless of whether they have a relationship with that woman or not.

Remember, you can also celebrate the women being figurative mothers in other people’s lives, whether that is through friendship or familial relationships like being an aunt, mentor, grandmother, etc. When framed the right way in your services, every woman can find something to celebrate on Mother’s Day regardless of the pain or confusion she might also feel about the holiday.

In thinking about how to acknowledge and celebrate Mother’s Day in your church, I think Rev. Ashley-Anne Masters puts it best with the following prayer: 

For those who got pregnant right way and those who have been trying for years…

For those who entrust their babies to the care of another family…

For those who cannot wait to welcome a baby into their home and those who are terrified they are not fit to be parents…

For those whose child will get a soccer scholarship and those whose child will never run…

For those who proudly pose for pregnant photos and those who shamefully hide their bellies…

For those who are proud to be fathers and those who hope the DNA tests are incorrect…

For those who pay child support and those who need child support…

For those who fight with teenage daughters and those whose daughters have run away…

For those who cannot pay for college and those who cannot pay for medical care…

For those who homeschool and those who fear their children won’t make it home from school…

For those who think their son is the best surprise of their life…

For those whose children are in prison and those whose children want to be correction officers…

For those whose baby doesn’t live outside of the womb and those whose wombs are empty…

For those taking hormones and those who feel exhausted from hormone changes…

For those grieving what will never be and those amazed by what life has become…

For those who are single parents and those who are now step parents…

For those who have an empty nest and for those whose nest was never full…

For the couple who is closer than ever and the couple getting divorced…

For all of your children [and mothers] of all ages, hold them close and give them life… Amen.

How is your church planning to thoughtfully celebrate all Mothers and women this Mother's Day? Let us know in the comments below.

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Topics: Senior Leadership

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