Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day


I'm just back from preaching at our annual church retreat. The theme for Sunday's worship was of course Mother's Day.

Did you know that Mother's Day was first proposed in the United States by a Unitarian? (No, that's not the beginning of a joke...although I did hear a new Unitarian Universalist joke today....Q: What's a Unitarian Universalist? A: An atheist with children to raise.)

Julia Ward Howe proposed the first Mother's Day in 1870. The same woman who had composed "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" had increasingly become an activist for peace. When a new war broke out in Europe, she developed what she called her Mother's Day Manifesto.

It said in part:

"Arise then…women of this day. Arise, all women who have hearts…say firmly, “we will not have questions answered by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands will not come to us, reeking with carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We, the women of one country, will be too tender of those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure others….From the voice of a devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It say’s Disarm! Disarm! The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.”

These words resonated in my heart today as I read them. I hope you took the time to honor those in your life who mothered you today, whether your biological mother or the men and women who provided you with nurturance and care. I hope those of you who are mothers were amply celebrated by your children and partners. And in the spirit of Julia Ward Howe, I hope you will recommit yourself today and every day to working for justice.

P.S. On a personal note -- I will receive my 2nd Mother's Day gift tomorrow when my daughter returns from her semester in Vietnam! Back on Tuesday.

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