As we head into this Mother’s Day weekend, I’ve been thinking a lot about Mother’s Day prayers. In part this is because of my own thankfulness over the many who have been a “mother” to me, but also my thoughts have been cast towards those for whom Mother’s Day feels a bit odd.
Because of a strain in relationship…because of grief at loss…because despite the highest hope and effort they remain without biological children.
This prayer from 2020 by Rev. Denise Anderson, coordinator for Racial & Intercultural Justice with the Presbyterian Mission Agency, is one of the best ones I have found so far that names these realities before God with both thanksgiving and intercession. She draws from a variety of scriptural images (including the prophet Isaiah who compares God to a mother who will not forsake her children) to pray both for mothers and those who wish to mother. I share it with you now slightly edited for formatting (original source can be found here)
Holy One, who gathers us as a mother bear gathers her cubs,
We give thanks for your goodness and mercy toward us. We are grateful for your lovingkindness and care for your children through the ages. We thank you for your protection and correction. And we thank you that we of all genders, ethnicities, and race bear the imprint of your caring nature.
In culture and in the church, we celebrate and give thanks for mothers — mothers who reflect your incessant care and teaching. We are grateful for their role in our lives and ask that you sustain in these difficult times all who mother. For those who try to keep their children safe, educated, and engaged in new ways, we ask for energy and imagination to do that work. For those who have always had to mother in difficult circumstances, we ask for provision.
We also acknowledge that for many of us, the concept of “mothering” is painful to consider. Our mothers may have been absent physically or functionally. Some of us have experienced the untimely death of or abandonment by a mother, and we continue to grieve their absence. For some of us, the mothers in our lives were abusive or neglectful. We ask for your grace in grief and your care for hearts that are hurting.
We lift those mothers who have lost children. Some to perinatal loss. Some to illness. Some to violence. We ask for your arms of comfort to surround those mothers in their loss. We give thanks for the strength of mothers who continue to advocate and fight for their children and everyone else’s child. We ask for their prophetic voices to be lifted in the public square and that their continued labor not be in vain.
We remember those who wish to mother. We ask that you would soothe hearts that are in agony, longing to build the family for which they have dreamed and to which you have called them.
And God, we give thanks that not everyone wants to mother. Many instead chose to contribute to our common life in other impactful ways. We thank you for those who inspire, who give, who love, who teach, who nurture, who challenge, and who make the world better in myriad ways. We thank you for those who step in as chosen family to people without access to their families of birth. We thank you for those who adopt others, whether formally or informally. We remember Jesus’ admonition that whoever does the will of God is his mother, brother, sister, sibling.
Help us, O God, to be your family in all the ways you have imagined for us. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, brother to us all, Amen.
The Lord Bless and keep You,
*In-Person/Livestream Worship: Join us each Sunday at 11:00 am in person or online (via Facebook live) for worship!
Online participation via Facebook Live: https://www.facebook.com/firstpresbyterianchurchofgarner
On Sunday, May 14, we continue our series “Terms of Resurrection.” Also we continue our annual tradition of conferring the Presbyterian Women’s Honorary Life Membership Award for a member of our congregation. Celebrate with us as we see “Love Poured Out” for us by God in so many ways.
*Masks are welcome but optional during in-person worship as we continue to contend with COVID and allergy, cold, and flu season. We also ask everyone to be still mindful of social distancing and respectful of the personal space of others even as we give thanks for being together.*
*Youth Group Re-Starting: On Sunday after worship, youth, their families, and members of our faith Formation Ministry team will meet to brainstorm ideas for re-starting our Youth Group–a regular time of fellowship, study, and service for young people (5th grade and older.) Please contact the church office and speak to Rev. Acton about ways to be involved.
*Presbyterian Women General Meeting: You’re invited! The PW General Meeting will be held May 21 in the Fellowship Hall, immediately following service and ALL are invited to attend. Dennis Testerman will be our guest speaker. In addition to serving on the Board of Friends of Plants Conservation, Rev. Testerman is a resource to the four Earth Care Congregations in the Presbytery of Charlotte. Light refreshments and cake will be served.
*Walking Group: Join the Walking Group each Tuesday at 6 pm. We currently meet at Cadence Senior Living Center (200 Minglewood Dr.). Dress warmly! If you have any questions, contact the church office at 919-772-0727. In the event there is inclement weather, we’ll just gather the following week.
*Mission Opportunities: A Habitat for Humanity work group is shaping up for May 27. If you are interested in joining the work team, please contact the church office! in the narthex. Put your name down if you would be interested in helping in any way with the Spring Faith Build. We will pick a day and project that suits the skills, abilities, and time of those who would like to be involved.
*Youth Group Baseball Outing: Youth Group (5th grade and older) will be attending the Holly Springs Salamanders vs South Wake Sharks baseball game in Holly Springs on June 25 at 5:40pm. All youth 5th grade and older are invited to attend. Please RSVP by June 15 to Christy Turpin, Roxann Porter, or Stephanie at the office.
*2023 Vision Update: In January’s edition of the Spire, Rev. Acton wrote about church leaders (session, deacons, and staff) exploring an emerging vision for FPCoG, rooted in the idea of serving our “neighbors.” The Session continued this conversation at its February meeting and approved the following recommendations:
1. Appoint a group that can help develop a consensus among the congregation for a vision of FPCoG rooted in the image of being neighborly towards our local, regional, and global communities.
2. Complete a demographic study of our region to better know who our neighbors are and what their needs might be.
The next step will be identifying people to serve on the “Vision Team” described above and identifying resources to help us complete a demographic study in a helpful way. The Team will be composed of active members of the Session, the Deacons, as well as the congregation. If you might be interested in serving and helping clarify the call God is issuing to FPCoG for its ministry now and into the future, please contact Rev. Acton or Mike Koenig, the Clerk of Session.
*Share FPCoG with Each Other and Our Neighbors! FPCoG is an active church! To help others know this (and to stay up to date yourself), please consider following and asking others to follow us on Facebook or Instagram!