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What Moms Mean to Those Following Different Faiths

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by spnadmin, May 9, 2010.

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  1. spnadmin

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    Honoring mothers has become a tradition that stretches across many religions. With Mother's Day arriving Sunday, how should a person of faith put this tradition into perspective?

    David L. McDonald,
    Clayton Presbyterian Church

    Like most holidays, the Mother's Day tradition has been commercialized, and children feel obliged to buy an elegant greeting card, send flowers or choose a fine box of chocolates. The impulse of this holiday is far richer and more profound. It is rooted in the injunction of the Ten Commandments to "Honor your father and mother." Rightly, we pause to reconnect with our mothers or, if our mothers have died, to savor the memories gratefully.

    While the Bible reflects a patriarchal culture in which women are overshadowed by male actors in the drama, mothers' roles cannot be denied. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, we honor Sarah's faith, the imaginative caring of Moses' mother, the trust of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and a host of minor characters.

    People of faith need not depend on sentimentality or commercial enticements but instead may turn to strong role models in our tradition who model compassion, vision, forgiveness, generosity and hope. Mothers are unique carriers of these values. No wonder the most vocal advocates for peace, justice and a shared prosperity in our time are mothers and grandmothers who envision a peaceable kingdom. Within church and synagogue, mothers have given persistent leadership, often sustaining faith communities. Within our congregations, we are enriched by the presence of mothers and grandmothers who are living examples of faith values.

    So in our traditions of faith, we long for something more profound on Mother's Day -- not just a Hallmark card but an opportunity to value the unique role of mothers and to learn from their example.

    Kanwal Prakash "KP" Singh,
    Sikh community spokesman, interfaith leader


    The Sikh scriptures refer to God as the "Father and Mother of all Creation" and "all human beings as His Children," and a mother like the "Mother Earth as an embodiment of boundless benevolence."

    Our concept of mother, no matter how we address her in different cultures or languages -- Mom (English), Mamenka (Czech), Matajee (Punjabi) or Ammijaan (Urdu) -- echoes attributes of the Divine: love, devotion, beauty, grace, wisdom, strength, forgiveness, sacrifice and limitless patience, generosity, compassion and blessing.

    A woman enjoys a distinct and honored place as the divinely chosen anchor of life: She gives birth to life and generations, assuring continuation of the human race and civilization. Mothers bring into this world saviors, kings, emancipators, enlightened souls, daring and brilliant innovators and inventors, and creative geniuses who enrich life.

    The last name for a single Sikh woman is Kaur, a Sanskrit word meaning a princess and a lioness -- a person with an honored status and one who protects her children, like a lioness her cubs. After God, a woman is the mother of man and woman and thus worthy of love, veneration and celebration. A mother is the first teacher of life, its true guardian, loving mentor and friend.

    Imagine if a mother had not given birth to President Lincoln, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Edison, Mother Teresa, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Rabindranath Tagore or the Dalai Lama, not to speak of millions of men, women and children who shape our civilization (and) daily connect our life and spirit with unimagined wonder and promise. We remember: It all began with the Supreme Being blessing us with mothers to advance his creation.

    A very Happy Mother's Day to all mothers, and thank you for what you mean to the entire human race. Each of you in your own way is God's light, love and his personal angel on Earth.


    The Rev. Ralph W. Spears,
    St. Matthew Lutheran Church


    How does anyone, especially a person of faith, perceive a special day for mothers? No, it is not on the church year calendar of saints, martyrs and generally "good" people, but since mothers are found in all three of these categories, a special day for mothers certainly belongs in this company. This was common knowledge long before a tenderhearted person in the last century worked to designate the second Sunday of May as Mother's Day.

    The pattern of the creator designated "mother" as the bearer of the race mentioned in the early chapters of Genesis. The pain in childbearing is her price to pay for that honor, yet ironically it also provides a bond with the child.

    The father can walk away and often does, but not the mother. She has suffered for this new life, and the religious part of her, hard-wired into her conscience, recognizes the underlying value and positive nature of suffering. The Judeo-Christian tradition has always understood the place of suffering. I have been privileged to counsel many families and marveled at the mothering spirit that evolves and matures, sometimes with quite a bit of encouragement.


    Motherhood, after all, is a calling at its best and its highest. It should be valued, nurtured, protected by the whole of society, not demeaned by crude speech and gestures that are so common and so wrong. Motherhood is something that is set apart and special, which is the definition of holy.

    If we are to look anywhere for a place to improve society, encourage our youth and help find our faith, it is to understand the basics of life itself: its purposes, its real goals and yes, its joys. One of the most basic components is the importance of families and the calling to be mothers (fathers) of the new lives entering our world.
     

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