Mother’s Day

Every year I write a post about Mother’s Day and how I don’t really like it–especially in church. This year’s post takes that sentiment, weaves itself into a bigger net, and includes a litany you can use for your Sunday AM worship if it fits your context. Here goes…

 

God of creation, you have been in the business of birthing your children for generations.

On this day, we thank you for the women who have desired to do the same, who have labored to become mothers through childbirth or adoption. We thank you for the ways in which they teach us to love and care for ourselves and the world around us.

We pray for the women who deeply desire to become mothers but struggle to do so. We ask that you provide hope in the midst of disheartenment and that you remind these women that they are by no means less of a person because of imperfect biology.

We pray for the women who have loved and lost children—for whom this day is fraught with painful reminders of who and what they have lost. We pray that they may encounter you in new and different ways through other children in their lives and find peace.

We thank you for the women who have made a difference in our lives as mothers, who loved and cared for us in the ways you would.

We thank you for the women who have worked to be the best mother possible but whose experiences of parenting have not matched their expectations. We ask that you bolster these mothers, reminding them of the ways in which they lived up to your idea of motherhood.

We thank you for the women who tried to be mothers, who may have failed because they lacked the resources they needed to be present as mother. We pray for those sons and daughters who mourn the mother they are or were not able to have, that they may find in you, and in this community, the deeply loving and nurturing presence they have missed.

We pray for those sons and daughters who are motherless because of disease and death, that they may have a sense of your presence in the midst of their pain and the solace and joy that come with fond memories.

We thank you for the ways in which our lives are shaped by our mothers, by our quest for motherhood, and for motherhood itself.

Above all, Creator, may we all work to be the kind of parent for our children and the children around us that you have been for your children for generations. Help us to look to your Spirit as a guide for being parent—for knowing how to love, when to speak, when to whisper, when to stay quiet, how to play, how to nurture and comfort, and how to be present.

We ask these things of you, in the name of our Brother, Jesus. Amen.

 

***I’ll also make an attempt at tweaking this for Father’s Day next month. Be on the lookout.

Early Voting, Or Why I’m Still Really Baptist

It’s voting season around here, and it’s a well-known primary election for North Carolina–mostly for the Marriage Amendment. I am thankful, for many reasons, that early voting is an option. For one, the line is shorter. For another, it’s more convenient. And so, on Monday afternoon, I walked over to my community center to cast my primary ballot.

If I were to wait until election day next Tuesday, I’d be doing so at a local church.

The former seemed so much more appropriate. Mostly because I believe in the separation of church and state. Staunchly, I’ve come to realize. And voting in a political election at a church flies in the face of separating the two. Voting at a town community center just…fits.

Walking home from my community center got me thinking about this whole separation of church and state thing and my earliest attempts to understand it. I asked my youth minister when I was in high school, but never got a clear explanation of what it was or what it meant. It was clarified in my Baptist History class at Campbell, but the farther reaching implications have only become clearer for me in recent years–particularly as I’ve considered more deeply what it means to vote in a church versus a community center…or have a minister sign the state’s marriage license.

While all of the arguments fly around this amendment, and while pastors speak for or against it from their pulpits–in ways that harm and abuse one’s power in one case in particular–I am reminded that the reason I believe in the separation of church and state is because I have Baptist roots. Deep Baptist roots, apparently. Because real Baptists believe in it. In fact, Baptists are the reason we have freedom of religion in the First Amendment. Baptists also are believers of autonomy and freedom of the local church and individual beliefs. And even though I’m part of a non-denominational church, I’m still really down with all of that.

Ironically enough, it makes me a conservative Baptist.

But since those ideas have been…well…perverted…in many instances, it may make me a liberal Baptist.

Either way, I’m still Baptist.