By: Pastor Mary Beth Hartenstein

This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day, a secular holiday that has seeped into the church.  Somehow there, on the part of many, that there ought to be an announcement, gifts and special attention given to this select group of women on that day.  For me, it is one thing that Hallmark, American Greetings, floral shops and convenient stores make this holiday into something special.  As a mother myself, having my sons remember to send me a text on that day is great.

But does this holiday belong in the church?

As this Mother’s Day approaches, my mind races with remembrances of women who will mourn the loss of their sons or daughters on this day.  Whether from wounds of war or violence, from early pregnancy loss to still births, from illness or disease, these mothers will not experience joy on this Mother’s Day but instead feel a deep sadness in the heart and an ache in their arms that still long to hold their child.  There are women who will sit alone or not receive a card because the relationships with their children are tested and strained.  Not having any children, either by choice or because of infertility, presents another reason for this coming holiday to cause a sense of exclusion.  There will be women who will pause for a moment and ask, “If I am not a mother, who am I today?”

There will be children, who because their mothers were less than loving, less than caring, less than what their dreams of a mother ought to be, will struggle with what to do when there is pressure to celebrate one’s mother.

And yet, there are many reasons to celebrate the women in our lives, our church, our community and around the world for their contributions to their families and to the whole of humanity.  The kiss of a boo-boo, the meals prepared, the laundry done, the taxi service from one event to the next – these are just a few of the many, many responsibilities that women often taken on as part of their roles as mothers.

It is such a thin line between the secular and the sacred or maybe it is no line at all.  Perhaps the celebration of Mother’s Day is the chance to simply pause for a moment and consider that women, all types of women, have made contributions to our lives, to our families, to our communities, and to the world that ought to be honored and applauded.  May this coming Sunday be marked with praise for the women who have helped to nurture us, mold us, guide us, challenge us, and love us in small ways and in larges ways.