Mother's Day Service 5-12-2024

Mother's Day Service 5-12-2024
Photo by Ijaz Rafi / Unsplash
Mothers Day Service 5 12 2024

In this week's Mother's Day service at Fairhaven United Methodist Church, Jim Campana began by expressing gratitude to those who helped organize the presentation and highlighted the significance of Mother's Day in celebrating maternal figures, whether biological or through acts of love. He shared some interesting historical facts about the holiday, noting its creation in 1907 and the subsequent commercial involvement of Hallmark in the 1920s. Jim humorously reflected on the perilous nature of shopping for Mother's Day gifts and shared personal anecdotes about his mother, who was adept at guilt trips, and his wife, Elaine, who has been the cornerstone of their family for 44 years.

Jim emphasized the complex and demanding role of mothers, underscoring their need for patience, perseverance, resilience, and faith. He illustrated this through the biblical story of Yoshebet, the mother of Moses, who made immense sacrifices to save her son. He drew parallels between Yoshebet's faith-driven actions and the contemporary challenges mothers face, from raising children in dangerous environments to making courageous decisions for their well-being. Through these stories, Jim highlighted the extraordinary impact of seemingly ordinary acts of faith and the vital role mothers play in God's plan. He concluded by encouraging the congregation to work diligently and trust in God's care, wishing all a Happy Mother's Day.


I'd like to thank the people this morning who have helped put this Mother's Day presentation on. Phil and Dave, Rachel and Brian, and of course Dan back here on the piano. So again, thank you guys. Mother's Day is a time to celebrate women, especially the mother figures in your life, whether these maternal figures brought you forth from birth or entered your life through acts of love and caring.

Mother's Day, as you know, was created in 1907, but did you know that Hallmark didn't begin creating and producing Mother's Day cards until the early 1920s? According to the National Retail Federation, American spending on Mother's Day is expected to reach an all-time high of $35.7 billion this year. And generally speaking, men spend more time and give more gifts on Mother's Day than women do. Although the only person a man usually shops for is his wife, I can tell you the whole experience is rife with peril.

Let's face it, guys, no matter what you do or what you buy, it's never going to make up for those stretch marks and leaky bladder. Elaine and I will be married for 49 years next month and have been parents for 44 of them. She has been and still is the essential element that holds our family together. That was also true of my mother, as she played a crucial role in my overall well-being and happiness growing up.

However, my mother was a master of guilt trips. She once showed me a photo of herself waiting by the phone, claiming that the phone never rings. Mom, I call you all the time, I said. If you had an answering machine, you'd know.

Soon afterwards, my sister installed one for her. When I called the next time, I got her machine. If you are a salesperson, press 1. If you are a friend, press 2.

If you are my son who never calls, press 911, because the shock will probably give me a heart attack. Seriously, Mother's Day means many things to many people. For some, it's a day of sorrow, and this day remains a painful reminder of that fact. Some individuals perhaps did not have a good relationship with their mother.

Some have had difficulty becoming a mother. Others have lost a child. There are still others whose children have caused great pain in the life of the mother. With these difficult scenarios abounding, one might wonder, Why would I dare present another such message on this subject? Maybe the reason is because I think mothers are some of the most underappreciated people in the world.

Being a mom is hard. It takes endless patience, perseverance, resilience, and tolerance. Being a mother also requires some tough decisions, decisions that are risky, heart-wrenching, decisions that require faith. And Mother's Day draws our attention to the incredible God-given role that mothers have in the life of their children.

Moms are responsible for keeping their families happy, usually at the expense of their own happiness. Have you ever heard of a job that requires no experience, gives no training, pays nothing, and you can't quit? And oh, by the way, human life could possibly be on the line. It's hard to explain a mother's job, but it thoroughly explains why Mama Bear's porridge was too cold, doesn't it? Today's scripture is about a mother who had to make some hard choices for her son's well-being. The story is of a woman who is mentioned only a few times in the Bible, this morning's passage in Numbers 26, verse 29, and in Hebrews 11, verse 23.

Yet despite her low profile, she provides a finely drawn portrait of a mother with faith. Yosef was the daughter of Levi and the mother to Aaron, Miriam, and Moses. And as a woman and a mother, she faced the most sacrificial experience any mother could ever dream of. Back then, the nation of Israel had been in Egypt for almost 400 years.

They grew and they prospered there, but before long, they became a threat to the reigning Pharaoh. So Pharaoh forced them into slavery, and by the sweat of their brows, cities like Pithom and Ramses were built. Pharaoh hoped to break their backs, but they continued to grow and prosper. So he resorted to Plan B.

He commanded the Hebrew midwives to murder newborn sons of the Hebrew women as they were giving birth. When he discovered that they couldn't rely on the midwives because they feared God more than him, he tried another approach. He told his people to stay on the lookout for Hebrew baby boys. If they saw one, they were to throw him into the Nile and watch him drown.

It was during this reign of terror that Yosefet became pregnant with her third child. She didn't have to worry about her older children, Aaron and Miriam, but the child in her womb would be fair game for any patriotic Egyptian in a bad mood. And after three months of hiding her baby, she saw the handwriting on the wall. She constructed a little wicker basket, covered it with pitch and tar to make it float, and put it in the reeds of the Nile River.

And at three months old, Moses was completely helpless in a river filled with crocodiles. But notice, Yoshebet was not careless about this. She was sensible and pretty ingenious. She didn't send him floating down the river.

She placed him among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. Why? Because this was the place that women congregated. Today it would be like placing a baby on the steps of a hospital. Yoshebet also didn't put him in the Nile and wave goodbye saying, Have a nice life, Moses.

Maybe I'll see you someday. Rather, she had Moses' older sister stand at a distance to find out what would happen to him. Yoshebet knew if she stood by the reeds watching and waiting, it would have been obvious who she was. But Moses' sister Miriam made a good spot.

And when Moses was discovered by Pharaoh's daughter in the Nile, Miriam offered to find a Hebrew woman to nurse him. Yoshebet became that woman, and God's plan fell into place. In the dangerous world in which she found herself, Yoshebet stands out because she did what she could and what she had to do to save her child. Then when she could do no more, she totally depended on the faithfulness of God.

I think the overriding lesson here to be learned is that a mother's job is not to plan out the life of her child. God already has designed that plan. A mother's job is to understand her role in God's plan. And by understanding her role in God's plan, Yoshebet not only saved her son's life, but made it possible for the exodus of God's people from Egypt, which changed the course of history forever.

Back then, it was a challenging period to be a mother, just as it was to be a mother in our world today. I think of mothers in parts of Africa who face the real prospect of having their son taken from their arms to be trained as child soldiers. In America, we exist in a proverbial jungle of danger. There are forces at work which threaten to drown our children every day.

There are lions drowning our kids in rivers of violence or drugs or peer pressure. There are tigers drowning our children in seas of confusion as the lines between right and wrong have become blurred in our society. There are crocodiles drowning our future generation in a competitive culture that rewards performance above character. Isn't it amazing how often we think that God uses extraordinary people with extraordinary stuff to do extraordinary things? But the truth is, God uses ordinary people, like this slave mother, and ordinary stuff, like reeds and tar, to do an extraordinary thing, like raise up a boy that would eventually save a nation.

But that shouldn't surprise you. This story is not an exception. Rather, this is God's standard, which we see happening over and over again. Yes, God used Moses and his rod to set the Israeli people free from slavery and the Pharaoh.

And God used a boy named David and a slingshot to kill a giant. And God used Gideon's 300 men in clay jars to defeat thousands of enemy Midianite soldiers. And God even used an ordinary boy and his lunch of two fish and five loaves to feed over 5,000 people, just to name a few. You see, real faith is an active thing.

And faith sometimes calls us to do risky things. I think of mothers who have been unable to conceive but have had the opportunity to adopt children who might otherwise spend their lives in an orphanage. I think of mothers who are married to unbelieving and/or abusive husbands, but sometimes defy those husbands in order to expose their children to the truth of the word of God. I think of mothers who stand up to a teenage son or daughter, saying no to something when all other mothers say yes.

I think of mothers who choose to give up a lucrative career so they can stay home with their children when everyone around them says, That's crazy. No, those are courageous acts of faith. These women want to please God more than they want to please their friends or their children or even their husbands. And they trust God.

They trust that as they do, they are obedient to what God is calling them to do in the face of threatening circumstances. He'll take care of them and their child. You may ask yourself, Do I have what it takes to raise my child? Can I raise my children to be wise and contributing members of society? Second Peter resoundingly tells us, God has given you everything you need to raise your child. In the words of William Carey, Work as if everything depends on you.

Pray as if everything depends on God. So as you navigate this jungle of fear and doubt with lions and tigers and even crocodiles lurking around every corner, work as if everything depends on you. But most importantly, pray as if everything depends on God. Josabeth knew that it was only God who could save her son.

So she trusted God to take care of him. And she was not disappointed. Neither were you. Happy Mother's Day.