If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth[a] so that you have genuine mutual love, love one another deeply from the heart. You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.
Loving Deeply (Mother's Day)
Since today is Mother’s Day, I thought I would begin with a list someone has made which they have called “Murphy’s Laws of Parenting.” See if you can identify with any of these:
The later you stay up, the earlier your child will wake up the next morning.
The gooier the food, the more likely it is to end up on the carpet.
The longer it takes you to make a meal, the less your child will like it.
A sure way to get something done is to tell a child not to do it.
For a child to become clean, something else must become dirty.
Toys multiply to fill any space available.
Yours is always the only child who doesn’t behave..
Putting on the snowsuit causes your child to have to go to the bathroom.
It isn’t easy being a parent. Today we honour Moms in particular, because for the other 364 days of the year we are free to take her for granted. Of course that’s not true but I did read one Mother’s Day card that said: “Forget the housework, Mom. It’s your day. Besides, you can always do double duty and catch up on Monday!”
Since this is a celebration of Mother’s Day, I want to draw your attention to our lesson from 1 Peter, particularly the twenty-second verse, where we read these words, “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your sisters and brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.” What a perfect text for a day when we honor our Moms. “Love one another deeply, from the heart.” We don’t celebrate Mother’s Day because Mom is a good cook, or because she always keeps the house clean or because she always drives her kids to hockey / soccer / ball / dance / piano / guitar / rugby… We celebrate our mom because she loves.
Christians disagree about all kinds of things. We disagree on social issues. For example, some Christians are teetotalers when it comes to alcoholic beverages; others see no problem with drinking in moderation. We argue over how people are to be baptized (infant or adult) and whether Christ is present in the Eucharist (transubstantiation or act of remembrance). Christians subscribe to both liberal and conservative political philosophies. We have all kinds of differing interpretations of Scripture. But one thing we cannot remove from the Christian community and still call ourselves followers of Christ is love - deep, persistent, sacrificial love. We are a people who claim that God is love and we are a people who are called to model love in the world. God designed mothers and fathers to show that love.
A man tells about an occasion when his cell phone quit working. This occurred just as he was trying to let his wife know that he was caught in a freeway gridlock and would be late for their anniversary dinner. Because traffic was at an absolute standstill, he was able to write a message on his laptop asking other motorists to call her. He printed it on a portable ink-jet that he had in the car, got out in the stalled traffic, and taped it to his rear windshield. When he finally arrived home, his wife gave him the longest kiss ever. “I really think you love me,” she said. “At least 70 people called and told me so.” We see love lived out in many areas of our secular world. The difference is that for the world, love is the exception, not the rule.
For the 70 who called this woman to tell her that her husband was caught in traffic, another 500-600 probably passed by indifferently. Another 70 probably cursed the man for trying to burden them with his dilemma. That’s the way the world operates. Love is the exception, not the rule.
There was a column in the Denver Post sometime back about an octogenarian, Ellie Lindecrantz, who was flying to Florida to stay there for a few months. She was to be met in Florida by her husband, who had driven the family car there. At the check-in desk of the airport, 85-year-old Ellie asked for a wheelchair to take her to the gate. She was waiting under the departure/arrival screens. Suddenly, she started to feel chest pains. She is quoted as saying, “I hurt a lot. I knew I needed help.” A young man stopped to look at the screens above her. She told the man she had severe chest pains and really needed some help. He said, “I hope you feel better,” and walked away.
She called to another person nearby, asking for help. She just needed to get to the airport’s urgent care facility. The woman kept walking. By this time, Ellie had taken two nitroglycerin tablets. The wheelchair still hadn’t arrived. She took a few steps toward a uniformed woman monitoring lines at the ticket counter, and said she really needed someone to help her. The woman looked at her ticket and said, “You should ask American Airlines to help you.” The American Airlines counter was nowhere in sight.
Ellie sat down, took another nitro. In severe pain, she called her daughter, Greta, on her cell phone. Greta was in her car in Golden, Colorado but called 9-1-1 immediately. The dispatcher there patched it through to Denver, which transferred her to the Denver International Airport dispatch. Greta relayed all the information about her mother, and the man on the phone said, “We haven’t had any emergency calls.” “This is an emergency call,” Greta said. “My mother needs help.” “What do you want me to do about it?” said the man at the airport.
Finally, after four nitro tablets, and after almost 30 minutes had passed, the wheelchair attendant arrived. Ellie told him she needed to go to the medical part of the airport right away. But the attendant didn’t understand English. He could tell that something was wrong, though, so he took her to a friend, another airport worker, who translated for them. As soon as he figured out what was wrong, the attendant sped her through the crowds to the infirmary, where Ellie was stabilized and taken to the hospital by ambulance. “It was not a good experience,” Ellie said later from her bed at Exempla St. Joseph Hospital. The writer of this article in the Denver Post, Diane Carman, notes that the worst part for Ellie was the sense of abandonment. No one cared enough to help. She wasn’t their mother, just some stranger, some “old lady”.
For Christians love is to be the rule. There can be no exceptions. Jesus says in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Barbara Brown Taylor tells the story of her nephew Will’s first birthday party. Little Will was the center of everyone’s attention, and so he happily did a little dance until a jealous 7-year-old named Jason charged over, put both of his hands on Will’s chest and shoved. Will fell hard. His rear end hit first, then his head, with a crack. He looked utterly surprised at first. No one had ever hurt him before, and he did not know what to make of it. Then he opened up his mouth and howled, but not for long. His mother hugged him and helped him to his feet, and the first thing Will did was to totter over to Jason. He knew Jason was at the bottom of this thing, but since such meanness was new to him he didn’t know what to do. So he did what he had always done. He put his arms around Jason and laid his head against that mean little boy’s body.
“What Will did to Jason put an end to the meanness in that room,” observes Barbara Brown Taylor. “That is what love is . . . not a warm feeling between like-minded friends but plain old imitation of Christ, who took all the meanness of the world and ran it through the filter of his own body, repaying evil with good, blame with pardon, death with life. Call it divine reverse psychology. It worked once, and it can work again, whenever God can find someone else willing to give it a try.”
That’s what God created mothers for. Ladies, we are to be the filter, the protector of not just our own children, but of everyone’s child whether they be 2 minutes old or 102 years old.
John 15:12 says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” Christ makes no exceptions. Neither can we. This is the love that Christ modeled for us. It is the very love of God. Mom’s were designed to show the love of God. That’s why with a few unfortunate exceptions, Moms deserve to be held in high regard. They exemplify the love of God in this world. We see love lived out in many areas of our secular world. The difference is that for the world, love is the exception, not the rule. For Christians love is to be the rule. There are to be no exceptions. Why? Because we are loved by One who makes no exceptions.