On Sunday, millions of Americans will honor their mothers. Restaurants will be packed; shopping malls will welcome all who will make it the largest gift-buying holiday besides Christmas; it will be the peak day of the year for long distance phone calls. Many of us will enjoy time spent with our families and will remember with deep appreciation the gifts our mothers have given us.
Mother’s Day is not officially a church holiday, but the truth is that it ranks right up there behind Christmas and Easter. Grown kids will be home to visit and pews will be packed with family members near and far.
This Sunday, I will certainly give thanks for my mother. As I grow older and experience parenthood, I become more and more aware of the gifts she has given to me. But as we gather for worship at the Top of Poplar on Sunday, I will also pause to give thanks for other mothers – mothers of the church who have shaped my life and the lives of the communities of faith that I have been a part of.
One such church mother is Lucyle Hamlin. Throughout the years that I’ve been a part of this church, Lucyle often found her place on a pew or chair in the Education Building lobby, right in the middle of the comings and goings of children in the church. She made a point to get to know each child that walked by, often inviting them to sit down beside her so that she could strike up a conversation. Early in the year, she began hand-crafting Christmas ornaments so that she would have enough by Christmas for every child in the church. She wrote them personal notes of encouragement and befriended them in whatever ways she could.
“Mrs. Lucy,” as she was affectionately called by the children, passed away the week before Easter. While her spirit of love remains with us, many of the children of the church (and adults, too!) have already missed her presence. This Sunday, on Mother’s Day, the children’s ministry will honor her memory and will dedicate a bird feeder and birdhouse on the church grounds near the entrance to the Education Building lobby where she so frequently found her place. All are welcome to join the children at 10:30 outside for a moment of dedication and remembrance.
Many of you have known other mothers of the church who have made this church home for you. Remember them on Sunday, because they have shown us what the family of God looks like.
Jesus taught us that family is made not only by those who shared our blood. As Barbara Brown Taylor put it, “For him, family was not a matter of whose chromosomes you carry around inside of you but whose image you are created in. It was not a matter of who has the same last name or lives at the same address but who serves the same God.”
As we celebrate Mother’s Day, let us give thanks to God for all who have been our mothers in the faith, and particularly here in this family of faith at the Top of Poplar, for they have reminded us that we are all children of God.