Mother's Day is such an interesting day in the life of the church. Originally celebrated as "Mothering Sunday" it was a call for people to return to their "mother" church - the church closest to where they live. In the mid 1800s Anna Jarvis founded "Mother's Day Work Clubs" to support local women caring for young children. This group evolved into "Mother's Friendship Day" in 1868 to reconcile mothers of former Union and Confederate soldiers. In 1870 Julia Howe wrote the "Mother's Day Proclamation" which calls for all mothers to unite in proclaiming and advocating for world peace. It was not until 1914 that Woodrow Wilson would declare it a national holiday.
It is interesting that at the time of her death in 1948, Anna Jarvis (the woman who started mother's Day back before the Civil War) protests the national holiday and the over commercialization of it. She hated seeing the holiday she had helped create as a support for women (Anna herself was unable to have children) and a ministry of peace turned into an excuse to buy flowers and chocolates.
This Mother's Day we are called to once again celebrate the mother's in our lives. Not only those who gave us birth, but those who guided us, supported us and prayed for us. We remember and mourn with those whose mothers have died, with mothers whose children have died and for the countless women who have longed to be mothers and are unable. We celebrate those who have wonderful relationships with their mothers and comfort those who struggle in their relationships. While we may do these things with a flower or a box of chocolate, I invite you to reclaim the original intent of mother's day: a day of support and peace. How will you support the women in your life an din the life of our community? How will you embody the mothering love of God which calls the world to peace?