As a Pastor, Mother’s Day makes me a little nervous every year. I am always aware that this is a painful day, a joyful day, a salt-in-the-wound day and a sacred day – depending on your experience. It is also a beautiful opportunity-day to acknowledge that anytime someone chooses to nurture & care for another human being, they are “mothering” in the best definition of that word.
Tomorrow we will celebrate with nearly 10 families who have chosen to dedicate their children to the Lord. I get misty-eyed every time we have child dedication in our worship service. I’m not sure if it has always been the case throughout the history of parenting but I know that the parents I speak with today (and myself included) regularly feel some shame in their job as parents. If you pull a busy parent aside and say, “you are doing a great job” do not be surprised if they break out into tears. Maybe it is the high expectations of our culture that no one feels they can measure up, maybe it is because every parent just has those days where they want to resign from the job and then feel guilty for wanting to, or maybe it is because little kids are just so unrelenting in their need for help, guidance and parenting.
So when parents stand up and dedicate themselves and their children to God it is a declaration of dependence, it is a cry for help in the best possible way we can cry out for help. It is a full-on, complete and total acknowledgement that we as parents cannot do this job alone. We need God, we need our friends and family, and we need our church community. There are not many places in this world where you can basically stand up and say “I need a ton of help here” and then make a celebration & ceremony out of how totally awesome that is to admit to the world.
Thank you in advance to all the families who will share heart-felt letters to your children with us in church tomorrow. Thank you for modeling dependence and your need for help. Thank you for modeling courage and strength for all of us. Thank you for being a part of our church. We know that you do not need one more person needing you right now, but the truth is: we need you too, our church needs you. We don’t need you to do anything extra, we just need you to be in our lives because what you are doing in raising children is important and when we see your sacrifice we remember why Jesus said “let the little children come to me” and we are reminded that God is found in serving the littlest and least of these. You are doing a great job.