O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Based on the Fourth Commandment
Preached on May 13, 2018
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Honour your father and your mother.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Motherhood: this is a vocation or office in which God Himself is at work in the world! This is the reason the fourth commandment begins with the word: HONOR. You are to honor your mother because God is hiddenly active in your mother - working through her - using your mother as His mask. You are to honor your mother because God acts in the world for the benefit and good of His creation through motherhood!
It is God who empowers a woman to be a mother. Through the woman God creates, sustains, and raises children. Motherhood is a divine and holy vocation! A holy order! It goes all the way back to God’s very good creation when God made Eve from Adam’s side, married them and blessed them with these words: “Be fruitful and multiply” in the one flesh union that is enjoyed in holy marriage. This blessing – their wedding gift from God – is the gift of life itself.
God Himself designed a woman’s body so that a baby can be conceived in her womb. Mom offers her body as a living sacrifice for the sake of her children. Mom lives sacrificially for her kids. No choice in the matter. It’s built right in. In your mother - God made a picture of His love for you – by the very way you were given life. From the moment of conception mom begins to sacrifice - Sacrificial love – that gives itself up – suffers even - so the one they love may live.
It’s a picture – of Christ’s Good Friday love – giving up His life for sinners – that we might live. Talk about total self-denial! Jesus not only loves His friends. He even loves His enemies! “Father forgive them,” He prays.
That’s Jesus – lays down His life FOR YOU — hangs dead on the cross FOR YOU. He offers His divine body as the only sacrifice that atones for all your sin. He puts you first. You needed a salvific saving. You needed a total forgiveness. You needed to be put into a family. So He resolutely sets His face to go and do a Jerusalem. He bullishly does what it takes to redeem you: His brutal suffering – His torturous death. You are His. Built right into His body. Sacrificed for. Loved.
And now you. His Good Friday love bears fruit in you when you love others the way He loves you. That includes the selfless life of love that a mother shows her children. Think about it. This is the very order of her life. Unselfish acts of love – that’s what makes the high liturgy of her life as mother. They are her order of service – her worship. Doing Mom stuff is Mom’s way of denying herself in order to live for her children. And the world despises it, looks down on it, views it low – pushes women to pursue everything else but the worshipful life of motherhood. But you are not of the world. You are holy in the Lord. You are given the high, holy sacrificial calling of worship that brings forth life – whether it be with your own children, nieces, nephews or grandchildren. Trust in Christ gives birth to His love for others.
Besides your own mother, the Virgin Mary is the classic biblical example to show you how to live faithfully as a mother. She denied herself- in order to carry, birth, and raise the Baby Jesus. “May it be to me according to your word.” That was her “Amen” to her calling to be the mother of Jesus – when the eternally begotten Son of the Father was conceived by the Holy Spirit and took on human flesh in her womb. At His birth and 12 years later when she and Joseph found Him in the temple, “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” She treasured Him and gave discerning thought to the fact that her child was also her Savior – the Savior of the world.
It couldn’t have been easy for Mary. She probably endured all kinds of ridicule and scorn. When her Boy grew up and began preaching - He made it very clear that He was the Messiah – the Rescuer of the world! And you know how that went over: even His own family members thought He was out of his mind. Countless folks were offended and threatened by Mary’s Son. Many accused Him of being demon possessed, especially the religious big wigs. They wanted Him dead yesterday – and eventually they got their way.
When Baby Jesus was 40 days old, Mary took Him to the temple, where old man Simeon told her Jesus would be rejected – And - that a sword would pierce her soul as well. Indeed! Can you imagine what it would have been like for Mary - as she witnessed her Son’s arrest, trial, brutal beatings, cruel suffering and atrocious death on the cross? She did not betray Him. She did not deny Him. Through it all, she remained faithful to her callings: His mother and His faithful disciple!
As His mother, Mary, together with Joseph, regularly took the Boy Jesus to synagogue to hear God’s Word - and they taught Him how to pray – mostly the psalms. After all the psalms were the prayer book and hymnal of the Old Testament. But do you realize what this means? They taught our great High Priest how to pray. They were given to teach prayer to the One who has ascended into heaven and prays there to the heavenly Father for you – all the time. May mothers never look down on the high, holy calling they has been given – and all the real hidden ways God is using them in this world. And may Mary and Joseph’s example – stir all of us parents - to do the same with our children.
They went to ‘church’ faithfully too – and you can see it - as Jesus totally depends on His Father in heaven – living by faith all His life - and especially on the last day of His life when He hangs on the cross. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Psalm 22. “Father, forgive them,” is the heart of what it means to live with people who sin against you. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” Psalm 31. That was the “Now I lay me down to sleep” prayer that every Hebrew mother taught her children. “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” Not only are you teaching your children how to live, you are teaching your children how to die – trusting in the faithful hands of our Father in heaven – that they may have the eternal life that is in His Son Jesus.
Today you are given to marvel and rejoice - that Mom is the Lord’s hands and mouth for you. God takes care of His creatures through His creatures! God blesses you through your mother. She is like a little Christ for you. She lives not to be served but to serve as she gives her life (time, talents, energy, emotions, health, hope, faith) as mother for her child.
So kids – and everyone – if your mother is here I want you to take her hand – take your mother’s hand – the one the Lord works through – and everyone repeat this prayer after me:
Thank you for my mother.
Thank you for using her.
Thank you for blessing her.
Help me to honor her.
And bless her forever.
In Jesus’ name,
The Lord gives meaning to this service of motherhood. He even ties it together with the salvation of all humans - because the Lord, through motherhood, when the time was just right, sent His only begotten Son to be conceived in the womb of the virgin Mary to live and die as the Savior of the ungodly!
So, on this Mother’s Day I beg you to use Jesus in the way that He wants to be used. As the Savior of sinners! Whose blood cleanses you from all sin. After all, mothers aren’t perfect. They sin too. Even against their children. And children aren’t perfect either. They sin against their mothers. So, confess your sin to each other. And forgive each other – love each other – as God in Christ has forgiven and loved you.
Happy honoring your mother! Happy Mothers’ Day. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr