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Happy Mother’s Day

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Joseph Tkach Jr. and Mrs. Joseph Tkach Sr.
Joseph Tkach with his mother Mrs. Joseph Tkach Sr.

Mother’s Day in the U.S. is next Sunday (May 13). Other countries have a similar occasion on different days. Even a quick search with Google shows that literally dozens of nations, in all parts of the world, set aside a day to honor mothers and motherhood.

It is a reminder that one of the most important roles God has given to human beings is assigned exclusively to women. However, it is a role that often goes unrecognized and unappreciated.

I imagine that we all have memories of interactions with our moms. So it is appropriate that we remember the things they taught us. They were not only the voices in our heads, but around the kitchen table, the living room, just about everywhere. Like:

  • My mama taught me religion: “You better pray that will come out of the carpet.”
  • My mama taught me time travel: “If you don’t straighten up, I’m going to knock you into the middle of next week.”
  • My mama taught me logic: “Because I said so, that’s why.”
  • My mama taught me irony: “Keep laughing and I’ll give you something to cry about.”
  • My mama taught me osmosis: “Shut your mouth and eat your supper!”
  • My mama taught me contortionism: “Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck!”
  • My mama taught me stamina: “You’ll sit there ‘til all that spinach is finished.”
  • My mama taught me about weather: It looks as if a tornado swept through your room.”
  • My mama taught me about the circle of life: “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.”
  • My mama taught me about behavior modification: “Stop acting like your father!”
  • My mama taught me about genetics: “You’re just like your father.”
  • My mama taught me about envy: “There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don’t have wonderful parents like you do.”
  • My mama taught me about anticipation: “Just wait until you get home.”
  • My mama taught me wisdom: “When you get to be my age, you’ll understand.”

All kidding aside, we honor our mothers this weekend for the enduring love we receive from them from the womb to the tomb. A mother’s love for her children is perhaps the closest we human beings ever come to understanding the unconditional love that God has for us.

Since God reveals himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, some mistakenly view God only in masculine terms. Of course, God is neither male or female and not subject to the limitations of gender. Nevertheless, God created us in his image and likeness and it is not wrong to say that masculinity and femininity do reflect indirectly, each in their own way, something that does indeed correspond to God’s own life and character. So in Scripture we find images can be used of God’s character which align with the feminine gender. In four passages God is said to be like a human mother in labor or caring for her children (Isaiah 42:14; 45:10; 49:15; 66:13). There are three times where God is likened to a mother bird (Deuteronomy 32:11; Is 31:5; Matt 23:37) and one where God is compared to a mother bear (Hosea 13:8). The Spirit is described in Genesis (hovering, Genesis 1:2) and in the Gospels as being dove-like (Matthew. 3:16) and the dove is sometimes in the Bible viewed to have feminine characteristics. The apostle Paul compares his ministry to a nursemaid (1 Thessalonians 2:7). But even more to the point, readers of Scripture are directed to honor mothers (Luke 18:20).

Of course, no human mother is perfect. But whatever their flaws and shortcomings might be, most mothers do love their children in a profoundly deep and unconditional way. Whether you see it – or receive it – remember that motherhood is a reflection of the unconditional and nurturing love our heavenly Father has for us.

My surname is Russian, from my Dad’s family, but my mom is half-Greek. My dad was employed outside the home while my mom was a traditional stay-at-home, homemaker. So, in my preschool years, I was her constant companion. And I remember much of it very well. She taught me to read before I went to school. She taught me to pray as soon as I could talk. I remember watching her take several hours to make baklava from scratch. And I watched it all disappear in mere minutes once my dad arrived home from work.

My dad told me that he married my mom because he knew that in several areas she was smarter and how good it was to have her complete his team. Her father was a Greek immigrant, and I most remember him telling me that “the Greek part of you came from your mother” and that it was “the most important part” of me. I still smile every time I think about it.

I realize that Mother’s Day is not a God-ordained celebration, but for all its commercialism, Mothers’ Day is still a good thing. This year, remember to let your mother know how special she really is.

To all of you and all mothers I say: Χρόνια Πολλά σε όλες τις Μανούλες της Γης! (Happy Mother’s Day to all mummies!)

With love, in Christ’s service,

Joseph Tkach

P.S. In your Mother’s Day celebrations at church, please remember that it is not an easy day for some women. For those women struggling with fertility issues—longing for children they do not have—Mother’s Day can be an agonizing experience. So be sure to acknowledge them and their struggle on this special day.