As a motherless daughter, I have some strong feelings about one of the celebrations that comes again this Sunday. I have not been quiet about it either and people have been less than kind about this particular opinion. People in my own family have been more unkind than people in the pews, if you can believe it.
I still don’t believe that Mother’s Day needs to be celebrated in worship. I do think that worship should include the full breadth of our experience and mothering can be part of that awareness of the way God is moving in this time and place but I’m more likely to include a nod to mothering in the pastoral prayer and maybe include a hymn.
It’s been a long time since I tried to figure out how to include this observance in the context of worship. So I thought I’d try again just for fun and because I’ve never preached on this passage from Acts but I’m fixated on that bit in verse 41.
Prayer for Coming Alive Inspired by Acts 9:36-43 Standing in a room full of grief among women who have loved and lost so many of them gathered together in one place because only they knew what it felt like to grieve in this way. Standing there among these women Peter encouraged Tabitha to get up. She opened her eyes and took his hand and in that moment, it says, he showed her how to be alive. O God, take our hands because there are still parts inside of us that feel hardened maybe even dead and your resurrected spirit is needed. Help us, O God, to come alive in your love and grace today. Amen.
The temptation on this day seems to be to do a lot. Fill the space with words, flowers and rituals and there are times where mothering is like that. It’s a flurry of activity but those that do mother usually come to church for a sense of calm. They come to find some quiet reflection and I’d be tempted to include more silence as a gentle nod to everyone’s need for more self care.
I know, too, that silence makes people uncomfortable and squirmy. So maybe it’s enough just to make it a moment of confession with extended silence that leads into a sung assurance. I love a sung assurance.
Prayer of Confession Inspired by Acts 9:36-43 and John 10:22-30 O God, it always feels like we are in such a hurry. We ask for things on demand and without delay. We need it now and don't want to wait but we wait for you. We wonder if you're really here and if this is what it would feel like if we shared in your life, your life in our life, our life in your life so that we do not know your beginning or our end. O God, we don't stop in our rushing about to notice you in our lives. We pay attention only to ourselves without seeing your grace lifting us up into the fullness of this life. Forgive us and help us to slow down.
Joanna Harader shared a nearly complete liturgy on her blog and its as lovely as I imagine her new book will be. Do click over for some additional prayer inspiration.
I don’t have words myself for all that happened this week in the United States but I really appreciate this Anti-Mother’s Day Prayer from KatyandtheWord. I’m not sure how it would be used in worship but it caught my breath.
That’s all I’ve got for this day where mothering is not overtly mentioned. It feels good to be writing prayers again. I’m not sure if there is still need for my pandemic prayers at this point but I’m still praying for you, dear pastor. I’m praying for you so much.