I’m part of a few different online groups made up of assorted church-leader-types, and every year around this time, the topic of Mother’s Day comes up. What do we do, we who use our voices in pulpits and lecterns? Especially in Southern contexts like mine, it’s pretty hard to just ignore it at Sunday worship. On the other hand, it’s not a religious holiday, and focusing on it can cause people a lot of pain.
Full disclosure: personally, I am lucky to have a good relationship with a mom who is still around. I don’t want kids right now, so not having them is not a source of grief for me.
But being a person is complicated. Shouldn’t we pray like it?
Prayer of Thanksgiving and Intercession prayed at First Presbyterian Church; Oxford, MS, May 2018.
God of Life,
On this day when sunlight soaks the earth and green is painted in the trees, we give thanks for the ways you nurture us. So too, on this day, we give thanks for the women who have nurtured your people. And still we remember that this day, like all days, can be complicated.
To those mourning the loss of mothers or children no longer with us, grant your comfort.
To those among us who wish their mother relationships were different, grant your peace.
To those grieving dreams of parenthood that have not been realized, grant the sureness of your presence.
To those women who know in their hearts that to have children is not their calling, grant the knowledge that they are just as valued in your family of faith.
O Lord, you came to us here as Christ Jesus, and so you know what it is to experience heart-fluttering joy, the depths of grief, and the utterly ordinary things in between. You hear all of our prayers — the ones we have said out loud and the ones we still hold in our hearts. May we remember that your presence with us is as constant as the air we breathe, while we join together praying the words that your son taught us:
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory, forever. Amen.