Yesterday I heard one of the best Mother's Day sermons I can remember. It was by the pastor at our family's church, Rev. Jeff Haggray of First Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
It contains an amazing and quite radical declaration on Mother's Day from Julia Ward Howe, the visionary behind the holiday, who also wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic, and later became a pacifist after witnessing the carnage of the Civil War. Jeff powerfully laid out the true history of this special day and drew out the theological meaning of "God's Maternal Nature." Joy and I were both moved to tears by his words.
"God's Maternal Nature" John 14:23-29
Festival of the Christian Home/Mother's Day
Sixth Sunday of Easter May 9, 2010
Dr. Jeffrey Haggray
Mother's Day is one of my favorite days of the year, because it is a fixed date in our national life that is dedicated to recognizing our beloved mothers and those mother figures that not only brought us into the world, but in so many instances provided the foundation and the framework for our moral, emotional, physical and spiritual development. We have lots of holidays on our national calendar, among them Father's Day, that are dedicated to different groups or to individuals.
Regrettably, Mother's Day and Father's Day are not formally recognized observances in the orthodox Christian calendar year. I say regrettably because one of the most profound teachings of the Scriptures is, "Honor thy Father and Mother."
Mother's Day is also one of those special days in the American canon that was uniquely conceived of and advocated for by Christian women with such clarity and vigilance that it eventually had to be formally recognized.
The first North American Mother's Day was conceptualized by Julia Ward Howe in 1870. Mrs. Howe lived from May 27, 1819