Maternal Musings

     Our gracious God has given to the world our beloved Savior and our beautiful mothers; all else is either dross or, if lovely, derivative of the One or the other.  It is an assertion devoutly to be proposed, devoutly to be considered and ardently to be embraced. 

God blessed me with an exquisitely beautiful mother.  I loved her dearly, and always knew implicitly and explicitly how dearly she loved me.  How blessed I was!  The hand that rocked my cradle was as lovely as was ever made.

I wish to live my life in such a way that would in no way dishonor to her; more positively, I wish to conduct myself in such a way that proves worthy of her.  God’s Word tells me to honor her, an instruction by no means difficult to fulfill.

I have always related to Jesus on the maternal level.  He had a beautiful mother.  Protestants believe that our Catholic friends go too far in their veneration of Mary, but I would also “protest” the dearth of honor we pay to our Lord’s beautiful mother.

We may not believe that she is the Queen of Heaven, but we can rightly acknowledge that she was someone of comparable profundity – a woman worthy of maternal identity, worthy even of carrying and nurturing no less than Jesus Himself!  The Bible attests.

The angel recognized her feminine and maternal worth, having perceived her godly character.  Gabriel said to her (no doubt with great élan), “Greetings, you who are highly favored!  The Lord is with you” (Luke 1:28). 

God, too, clearly knew her worth, for Gabriel reiterated, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God” (Luke 1:30).  God’s grace is sovereign, as His discernment is impeccable; Mary was deemed worthy of such a high maternal calling. 

And her cousin was not obtuse to Mary’s caliber, as Elizabeth cried out upon Mary’s arrival, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” (Luke 1:43).  Jealousy’s potential was trumped by the recognition of maternal purity.

Is it no wonder that Joseph was smitten by this woman; further, that he was so taken by her that he honored her even in his disappointment; even more, that he would risk his life for the sake of Mary and her baby, as the Gospel bears forth its narrative?

I think that we Protestants could do a better job of honoring our Lord’s mother; I really
do.  Isn’t it true that Jesus would be pleased if we did?  He entrusted her to John as He readied to die (John 19:27); by extension, doesn’t He entrust her memory to us?

I know that I have a more pronounced sense of appreciation for the mothers of my friends and colleagues and congregants since my own dear mother passed from my life.  I view them through a lens specially crafted by personal experience now converted to memory.

I trust that those who share residence with me in the Philadelphia area are aware as well as pleased to know the famous merchant John Wanamaker helped to put Mother’s Day on the map.   Yep!  History does so record and accredit our metropolis with such an assist. 

Anna Jarvis of West Virginia conceived the idea and secured an alliance with Wanamaker to advance its celebration.  And that is right up there with the signing of the Declaration of Independence and Rocky’s ascent up the stairs at the Museum of Art!

Mothers are wonderful.  They are beautiful.  They, like wisdom, are more precious than rubies.  And they make or break a life, a family, and a nation.  Our blessing is their burden, but one that they would never dream of ceasing to carry.

My mother once told me that she would walk over burning coals in her bare feet if it would secure my welfare.  She told me once, but I was so struck by her heartfelt pronouncement that I have shared it innumerably more times.  How could I not?

How could I not so honor one who was so manifestly devoted to my brother and me?  She taught and set an example for me.  She nurtured and raised me.  She did something that not everyone seems to know how to do:  She conversed with me.

English novelist Graham Greene wrote a comedic drama entitled Travels with My Aunt.  Film-lovers will recall a 1972 adaptation featuring Alec McGowan and the now renowned-actress Maggie Smith.  It was a splendid novel, but I can do one better.

I would write a memoir entitled Conversations with My Mother, as they remain iconic moments within the realm of my fifty years of existence.  I continue to cherish the memory of those talks, as well as I still draw riches from them so many years later.

(Perhaps a film version would be appropriate, but I don’t think that either Liam Neeson or English actor Jeremy Northam would stoop do portray me, though the prevailing actresses of our day should be lined up for auditions to play Me Mum herself!)

My church has some very devoted young mothers.  We have some very richly-experienced maternal pros.  And we have that lovely class comprised of those with maternal yearnings who yield maternal fruit with those in need of a maternal touch.

I love that last sentence.  I believe it to be well-written, but I know it to be, even more, well-inspired.  The Romantic poet John Keats often spoke of Cynthia, his poetic muse; may we all offer all-due accolade to those maternal muses who are so dear to us.

May God bless you, our dear and beloved mothers!  What would we have done or what would we do without you?  We would rather not know.  To you we tip our caps, hold forth your praise and present our hearts.  We love you.  Have a Blessed Mother’s Day!

Bradley E. Lacey
May 13, 2012