Seventh Sunday of Easter
Circles of Nurture
Mother’s Day is and has been many different things in the lives of families through the years. Our growing awareness of the variety of family dynamics and the many different mothering roles, both within families and beyond them, may be calling us to return to some of the earlier origins of the holiday. Giving birth or even being deeply involved in the care and nurture of children is not a prerequisite for what began as an occasion for women to come together in peace advocacy.
Today’s Gospel, with Jesus praying over his disciples, offers us a glimpse of the community nurture role at the heart of the Mothers’ Peace Day movement of the 1870s. Jesus’ words here, in John 17:9, speak to such nurture: “I’m not praying for the world but for those you gave me, because they are yours.” All of us, all people, have our own circles of nurture. These are people whom we celebrate being able to enfold in our care. They challenge us, frustrate us, and yet still fill us with deep wells of love. These are the people we deeply feel that God has given us, those for whom we desire the best in all things.
Maybe speaking out to, praying for, and working in tangible ways to see those we love and nurture live into a more peace-filled, just, and equitable world sounds like something other than Mother’s Day to you. But consider, just for a moment: isn’t working for safe, healthy, fulfilling lives just what those who have cared deeply for us have wanted to provide? Isn’t that what we wish to provide for those we love?
Christy Clore, transitional pastor
First Presbyterian Church, Reidsville, North Carolina, under call to specialized ministry in the Southern Province, on loan to Salem Presbytery