Across history, Christians have worshiped God in their homes as families on a daily basis. What is family worship, what does it look like, and what are some practical instructions for how we might go about implementing it in our own homes? In today’s episode, we talk to Donald Whitney, a professor of Biblical spirituality, about the practice of family worship.
A Mother’s Day Reflection & Prayer
CrossWay Community Church
May 13th, 2018
Today is Mother’s Day. It’s a day we’ve dedicated to acknowledging, thanking, and celebrating mothers.
And as Christians, we have all the more reason to be appreciative.
We understand that God himself is the author motherhood. In the beginning, when God said, “Let us make humankind in our own image,” he followed it up with, “Be fruitful and multiply.” And in those words he created motherhood. Having moms was his idea.
And don’t miss this. The Bible calls this a blessing. Right before God says, “Be fruitful and multiply,” notice how he introduces this statement. What does the passage say? “And God blessedthem, and said, ‘Be fruitful and multiply.” The command to be fruitful and multiply, and with it the institution of motherhood, is described as a blessing by God.
As James tells us, “Every good gift and every perfect gift comes from our Father above.” And so when we give thanks for moms, we express thanks first and foremost to God himself. Motherhood was his idea. It’s a blessing from God.
And this is something many of us know from our own experience. Many of us have personally experienced the blessings of motherhood – whether that’s through your own mom, or maybe you’ve had the privilege of being a mom yourself. –Or we might add here, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers.
Moms are an expression of God’s grace towards humanity – for the rearing of children, for the good of the family, and for the betterment of society.
At the same time, we’d amiss if we failed to acknowledge the fact that for many Mother’s Day is a difficult day.
Some today are reminded of mothers that have since passed away. The grief is still real.
Some may struggle with bitterness, anger, or guilt. Maybe their relationship with their mom was less than what God intended it to be.
Others still are haunted by the pain of infertility, miscarriage, or past abortion; or we think of those here who are single and would desire to be married and become mothers. For many in our midst, Mother’s Day may feel like little more than a cruel reminder of loss and heartache. And far too often they suffer in silence. Because these situations are often private, their pain is often overlooked and forgotten.
The list goes on: Sometimes motherhood begins with unplanned or unexpected pregnancies – at times with fear, shame, or uncertainty. We can think of single mothers who may be raising children on their own. –Grandmothers who, for a variety of reasons, may be raising their children’s children. –Mothers of children with disabilities, and any unique challenges or demands those circumstance may bring.
There are undoubtedly a variety of stories represented in this room. And all of our experiences are unique, with differing mixes of joy and difficulty.
And so we experience Mother’s Day with a certain level of ambivalence. As Paul says, we are a body. We consider ourselves, not as separate, isolated individuals, but as those connected to one another. When one part of the body hurts, we all hurt with them.
And so Mother’s Day is a day in which we practice Paul’s exhortation to “rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” We hold up – on the one hand – the joys and blessing of motherhood. We thank God for our mothers, and show appreciation to our moms. Yet at the same time we show sympathy, care, and sensitivity to those for whom today is difficult.
As we do so, let’s pray towards that end:
God, on a day like today, we are simultaneously aware of the great gift you have given us in motherhood, and yet deeply grieved by the effects of sin upon it. We can hold these two together because we know that you have given us motherhood as something good; and yet things are not always the way you designed them to be. And so we are joyous and thankful; and yet at the same time we embrace those who mourn.
God, we thank you for motherhood. We give you thanks for mothers and grandmothers who raised us well. We give you thanks for moms who were with us during hard times, for moms who prayed for us when we were wayward, and for moms who served us in ways that often went unnoticed.
For those here who themselves have had the privilege of being mom and grandmoms, we thank you for that gift. We thank you for the joy of being able to welcome a newborn baby into the world – of seeing their first steps, and hearing their first words. We thank you for the children you have put into their stewardship, and the privilege it is to raise them to follow you.
We also recognize those in our community here who experience pain and a sense of loss today. We think of those mothers or grandmothers whose circumstances may be difficult or trying. We think specifically of those who have lost mothers, for whom today may feel like an anniversary of their grief. We think of those who long to be mothers, but mourn the absence of new life within them; those who’ve conceived, but suffered loss through miscarriage or abortion; those who have given birth, but endured the tragedy of having to bury their own child.
With them we cry, O Lord, how long must death get its way at the outset of life?
But you, O God, have answered our cry. You have shown concern for our plight by sending your very Son. He himself bore our sorrows and is deeply acquainted with our grief. Because of his resurrection, death no longer has any sting. And so, when we grieve, we now grieve as those with hope. We await a new heavens and a new earth in which all pain and suffering will be undone.
We thank you for this hope in the name Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.