PATHWAYS TO FAITH by Dr. Willie Holley
We honor our mothers because they are most deserving of the recognition for the great sacrifices they make serving in the special role God has given to them. God clearly mandates that the role of mother deserves special honor and wrote the requirement in His commandments to Moses on Mount Sinai. At Exodus 20:12 (NKJV) God says “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” Mothers have always played a prominent role in human life. The first woman, Eve, whose name means “life” is also recognized as the “mother of all living”. (Gen. 3:20 NKJV) Eve was the first mother and throughout recorded history we observe mothers being esteemed and honored in the family. Over the history of mankind we find celebrations of motherhood in every culture. God made mothers as unique and special beings with the role of birthing and nurturing offspring of their kind. That role facilitated God’s plan for populating the earth. Remember that it was God who told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. This could not happen without the cooperation of Eve in her role as mother. Without mothers there would be no other human life beyond creation. We owe mothers a huge debt of appreciation for their willing participation in the procreation and nurturing of human life. The ancient Greek and Roman festivals of Cybele evolved into the Christian festival of Mothering Sunday, honoring the Virgin Mary. Children and young people who were “in service” (servants in richer households) were given a day off on that date so they could visit their families (or, originally, return to their “mother” church). The children would pick wild flowers along the way to place them in the church or to give them to their mothers as gifts. Eventually, the religious tradition evolved into a secular tradition of giving gifts to mothers. This festival survived in the United Kingdom and Ireland longer than in other Eu- ropean countries, and it became popular again in the 20th Century. The United States celebrates Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. In the 1880s and 1890s there were several attempts to establish a Mother’s Day, but they didn’t succeed beyond the local level. As early as 1870, Julia Ward Howe called for the United States to recognize Mother’s Day. The holiday was finally created by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, in 1908 as a day to honor mothers. Jarvis wanted to accomplish her mother’s dream of making a celebration for all mothers. She kept promoting the holiday until President Woodrow Wilson made it an official national holiday in 1914. Although initially intended to be a religious celebration of mothers, the holiday eventually became so commercial that many, including its founder, Anna Jarvis, considered it a secular holiday with a commercial purpose rather than a day honoring mothers. Jarvis eventually ended up opposing the holiday she had helped to create. She died in 1948, regretting the commercialization of the holiday. In the United States, Mother’s Day remains one of the biggest days for sales of flowers, greeting cards, and the like; it is also the biggest holiday for long distance telephone calls. Regardless of man’s abuse of the holiday, we should always remember God’s mandate that we give esteem and honor to our mothers every day of the year. I am praying with you for mothers everywhere to receive the honor they rightly deserve this Mother’s Day. Honor your mother by honoring God in worship this Sunday. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to mothers everywhere.
Dr. Holley is the Senior Pastor at Pathways Christian Fellowship in Bradenton, Florida. Contact Dr. Holley at Wholley777@aol.com., www.Pathwayscfc.org