Easter 6B’21 (Mother’s Day)
9 May 2021
I Jn. 5.1-6; Jn.15.9-17
St. Luke’s Episcopal Church
North Little Rock, Arkansas
The Rev. Carey Stone

Almighty God, Father and Mother of us all, you watch over us as a loving parent: Grant us Wisdom and the courage to follow the paths that lead to abundant life, through your Son Jesus Christ, our brother. Amen.

John invited his mother over for dinner. During the course of the meal, his mother couldn’t help but notice how John and his roommate Julie looked at each other. She had long been suspicious of a relationship between the two and this only made her more curious. By the end of the evening she was convinced there was more between them than met the eye. Reading his mom’s thoughts, John volunteered, “I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you Julie and I are just roommates.” About a week later, Julie went to John saying, “Ever since your mother came to dinner, I’ve been unable to find the silver gravy ladle. You don’t suppose she took it, do you?”

John said, “Well, I doubt it, but I’ll email her just to be sure.”

So he sat down and wrote: “Dear Mother, I’m not saying that you ‘did’ take the gravy ladle from my house, I’m not saying that you ‘did not’ take the gravy ladle but the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner. Love, John.”

The next day, John received a response from his mother that read:

“Dear Son, I’m not saying that you ‘do’ sleep with Julie, and I’m not saying that you ‘do not’ sleep with Julie. But the fact remains that if she were sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the gravy ladle by now. Love, Mom.“[1]

Well, Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks to the law signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1915 that made “Mother’s” Day and official holiday on our national calendar we have been sharing this greeting – to the eternal gratitude of countless florists and greeting card companies everywhere.

Like Father’s Day, Mother’s Day can be a mixed bag for many. Some may be grieving the loss of their mothers while others find themselves conflicted due to their troubled or complicated relationship with their mothers. Then there are those who are new to motherhood attempting to navigate the swift and at times troubled waters while there are still others who for various reasons never became biological mothers but exhibit many of the qualities of a mother. Regardless of where you are today in regard to mothers and motherhood one fact on which we all can agree: Mothers are extremely powerful people. Their influence upon individuals and society is massive. Rudyard Kipling reportedly said once, “An ounce of Mother is worth a pound of clergy!” Now as a member of the clergy and a son I can say that I wholeheartedly agree!

I’ll never forget coming in one morning around three a.m. after a night of mischief and mirth as a high school sophomore and finding my mother on the couch in tears. This was before we had cell phones and I had decided not to use a payphone to call and ask permission to stay out. She was worried sick and the look of pain she had on her face was awful. I vowed to myself to never break her heart like that again and I never did, it also proved to be a turning point in my choice of friends. Thank God I had a mother that cared enough to point me in the right direction! Mothers – you are powerful!

There are countless stories throughout history of the many ways mothers have influenced their children. Abraham Lincoln was one who credited his mother with the following affirmation: “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.” He also added, “No one can call themselves poor who has a godly mother” [2] It was through the nurturing of his mother Nancy and later by his stepmother Sarah that instilled the wonderful qualities of honesty, curiosity and compassion that set him on the path to the White House. Although Nancy had no formal education, she stressed to her young son the importance of reading and learning as they moved about in the frontiers of Kentucky and Indiana. Lincoln’s mother died when he was only 9 years old. His father remarried and he was given a real gift in his stepmother Sarah Bush Lincoln who took him under her wing and treated him like he was her own and showed him love, kindness and encouragement. She helped to fill the void left by his mother and fiercely defended his intellectual pursuits and contributed to his education by seeing that he had books to read. She knew there was something special about Abe, unlike others who looked at him and only saw a “gangly, awkward boy”; Sarah saw a diamond in the rough, a boy who had tremendous talent and great potential.

At the dawn of the Civil War Lincoln confided to a relative that his stepmother “had been his best friend in this world and that no son could love a mother more than he loved her.”[3] Think of the countless lives that were forever changed because of the lives of two mothers who were willing to invest in a gangly, awkward country boy named Abe!

Mothers – you are powerful!

Then there is the example par excellence of motherhood – Mary, the mother of Jesus who serves as a reminder of the servant role that is motherhood. In that great passage from St. Luke’s gospel Simeon prophesies to Mary ‘This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’[4] To watch her son grow into a man, to rejoice at his miracles, to swell with pride at his sermons only to watch him suffer and die on the cross. Yes, like Mary, to take on the role of mother will bring with it great joy as well as great pain. There will be great triumphs and great mistakes along the way. But every sacrifice will be worth it for Mothers – you are powerful!

There is another Mother that serves as a great example of motherhood although she never had any children of her own, Mother Teresa of Calcutta, and now after being canonized, St. Teresa of Kolkata. She took the orphans of Calcutta into her arms and into her heart and was a mother to thousands of children. The impact of her loving care was awesome! Mothers – you are powerful!

There is yet another category of mothers who may or may not have children of their own but become “mother-figures” to children who either have lost their mothers or who have mothers in name only and are starved for the nurture and support only a woman can give. The other day I even found a Mother’s Day card for mothers like these. The message on the front read, “With Love to someone who’s been like a Mom to me.” Inside it read: “There have been times when I needed someone and you were there…with acceptance and support, ready to listen and share your wisdom and perspective. Having your friendship and love has meant the world to me, and I can’t thank you enough. Happy Mother’s Day” This is a kind of mother that any woman can be.

Mothers – you are powerful!

I saw a quote recently from primatologist, Jane Goodall that I believe speaks to the power of Mothers to make a difference in all of our lives: “You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” [5]

Choose wisely for you Mothers of all kinds are powerful, much more powerful than you know. Amen.


[1] Author Unknown found on Google “Mother’s Day Jokes” 

[2] https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/18542-all-that-i-am-or-ever-hope-to-be-i

[3] Oppenheimer, Jeff, That Nation Might Live: One Afternoon with Lincoln’s Stepmother (TNML Production Company)

[4] Luke 2.34-35 New Revised Standard Version

[5] Meme on the Internet [unknown source]