From the May 2017 “Good News” (St. John’s newsletter):
“But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)
Where would we be without our mothers? We wouldn’t. Mothers hold a place in our hearts that can be filled by no substitute. The bond that exists between mothers and their children is something we fathers will never fully grasp. Sadly, there are deep emotional scars when that relationship fails, or we lose our mothers too early. Perhaps it is pregnancy and birth that creates this unique bond, but I think it is more than even that. I believe God has designed us for this special bond and I believe that in many ways it mirrors our relationship with the God whom we often call “Father” even more closely than our relationships with our fathers.
Looking at our Lord’s life, we see even there the special bond of mother and son. At the beginning of Jesus’ life, Mary hears strange words from the shepherds who came to worship the baby, a poor boy born in a manger. She pondered and treasured these things about her beloved son. Don’t we know that mothers do exactly that?
As Jesus hung on the cross, the last temporal matter he attended to was the care of his mother. As firstborn son, he bore a special responsibility for her care, and as he died, he passed her into the care of John, “the beloved disciple.” At the beginning and end of His life, this bond is affirmed as essential to the design of God.
In our Mission Statement, the first description of St. John’s is that we are a “worshiping community.” Setting aside the “worship” for our purposes here, I want to think about being community. It is with our mothers that we first experience community. It is there that we learn that others can and will meet our needs. We learn that others can be responsive to us. We learn that we can bring others joy and sadness. We learn, in so many ways, that we are never truly along — that we are connected to others.
At the end of the month comes another reminder of how we are connected to one another in community, even those we may never have met. Memorial Day celebrates the sacrifices that have made the freedoms we enjoy possible. As we give thanks for those who have served our country, and those who continue to serve, remember that these are not just distant names on a wall, but people who we depend on, whose lives are wrapped up with ours.
We honor both our mothers and others by living as part of the community. First in our families, then in our church family, at another level in our broader nation and ultimately as citizens of a global community. As we serve God in this community, we give thanks that God has knit us together!
Fr. Eric Turner
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