Martha’s Minute:
Reflections on Mother’s Day

Hello, everybody. I’m writing on Monday, May 14, so Sunday morning worship at WHUMC – just yesterday — is fresh in my mind’s eye. I was liturgist for Sanctuary Worship at 10:30 and found the worship experience to be particularly rich; for me, it hit the ‘sweet spot’ – both comforting and thought-provoking.

Pastor Linda, presiding, began worship with a prayer acknowledging the welter of emotions that can arise in any group of people around the subjects of Mother’s Day and mothering. “Today,” she said, “is a day to remember that God rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps with those who weep.” That notion that, on Mother’s Day, celebration is not the appropriate mode for everybody stayed with me through the day and was with me when I saw pictures posted from Mother’s Day worship at an Illinois congregation where another Eden graduate and former student of mine is pastor.

The photo showed a candlelit sanctuary during worship with folks with quiet faces, standing and walking, moving towards stations where additional small candles were waiting to be lighted. The pastor captioned the picture: “This was the most meaningful part of my Mother’s Day this year – lighting candles for whoever/whatever was on our hearts this Mother’s Day – mothers, children, spouses, family, friends, ourselves, joy, sorrow, loss, love, thanksgiving….”

My God. I looked again at the quiet faces in the picture and I thought of how judgmental I have sometimes been of those who grieve … imagining there’s such a thing as too much grief and imagining that I am the arbiter of what constitutes too much.

The quiet face of any human being can front, as Frederick Buechner says, “… enough grief to freeze your blood.” We simply cannot know what pain torments our friends and family members, fellow worshipers, the waitress, the crossing guard, the young man in the drive-through at the Chick-Fil-A, even while they’re chatting cheerfully enough with us. I hope I look upon all of them with renewed compassion this week, and I pray for you as well compassionate attention and understanding of/to/with/for all those with whom you interact.

I numbered this writing because I suspect that more reflections may emerge out of that rich worship experience yesterday. So stay tuned … for more reflections on Mother’s Day or on whatever God’s Holy Spirit throws or drops or floats in my direction. God keep you; God keep us all.

Rev. Dr. Martha Robertson