The Mothers’ Day Card
Fran talks about a card that brings back special memories
I am not a particularly sentimental person. I have not kept boxes of cards and mementos, but I have kept one Mothers’ Day card. As a family we have never been great on sending cards, we rarely send each other Christmas cards – preferring to give presents. But there is one card that I have kept, including the envelope.
As some of you know, our son is an author. And this card is a work of literary art. The envelope explains all: in tiny writing on the top corner, it says: ‘Yes Mum, I totally went there!’. This card is huge! The biggest card one could buy. Inside it is a normal, oversized card, full of teddy bears and flowers, but what makes it special is the ‘essay’. Our son wrote a full-length essay on the history and significance of Mothers’ Day.
Evidently during the 16th century, it was common to visit one’s ‘mother’ church, the place where people had been baptized and come to faith. This was particularly important if people had moved away with work, and especially so for servants. It was called ‘going a-mothering’, but there was no fixed date for this. Mothering Sunday as we know it was almost lost as a tradition in the early 20th century, but it was revived in 1921. (At this point in his essay, our son explained the change of ink due to needing coffee!)
The rest of his essay is a reminder of childhood antics, cakes made and prizes won. But at the end he says: ‘But really, as always happens with me, I’m using an awful lot of words to say something very simple: Happy Mother’s Day.’
Sometimes we forget why we do things; they are just part of our traditions. So, it good to be reminded. It is good to be reminded of the little incidences in our shared lives, winning cake competitions, buying favourite toys, watching films. This is why in the Genesis and throughout the Israelites wanderings and settlement in the Promised Land, they built pillars of stone, markers to remember what God, our perfect parent, has done. One such stone was called Ebenezer, which Samuel erected to remind the people that ‘Thus far has the LORD helped us’. (1 Sam.7:12).
Cards, stones, communion, Passover; they are all reminders. My large card reminds me what it means to be a mother and reminds me that our son is now a parent and learning to do the same things I did when he was small. The stone Samuel erected is a reminder of God’s faithfulness and help. The story behind Mother’s Day is a reminder that God is the perfect parent, always guiding and protecting us, leading us onward in his love.
As you may have heard at my ordination, the journey from the initial sense of call to ministry to finally being ordained last week, spanned many years. It was a slow process with many humps and bumps on the way. Sometimes I really wondered if I had heard God’s voice aright, but then something would happen, and that sense of call grew stronger. So, what was happening during all those years? I would say that it was the slowness of discipleship, like the seeds planted in the ground, steadily germinating and growing.
Easter is still a month away, even though the shops suggest otherwise with their displays of eggs and bunnies. We long for Easter and resurrection glory, but we are called to the slow walk of discipleship through Lent. Discipleship isn’t always glorious, like Spring. Often discipleship is hard-going, painful, and confusing. The German theologian and martyr, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, famously stated that ‘When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die’. Bonhoeffer was murdered on the orders of Hitler just a month before the end of WW2.
Spring is coming, Easter is coming, resurrection glory is coming, but for now we are all called to the slow and steady walk of discipleship. God calls us to walk humbly, and sometimes we might feel lost, yet as we walk the path of discipleship, God walks with us by the Spirit and God is always calling us onto new adventures.
Crofton Park Administrator
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