The Second Sunday of May each year is set aside for “Mother’s Day”. Don’t forget your mom!
Mothers are hard-wired by God to care for and love their children…even when they don’t know who they will be or become. The love of a good mother is completely selfless and all consuming. By and large, fathers have to learn to love their children; mothers just do.
Let me explain: I remember the birth of my first child, a boy. Birth is a messy process…far messier than I had anticipated at the time. When our son arrived he looked like a pickled little alien all covered in slime and blood. The midwife put a clamp on the umbilical cord and handed me scissors. “Would you like to cut the cord?” she asked.
Numb and kind of in shock, I took the scissors from her hands and cut the cord. The midwife started to hand that naked little slime-ball to me and I instinctively took a fearful step back. My wife, however, immediately held out her arms and said, “Come here Aaron.” (We had decided on names for either a boy or a girl in advance.) She received our son (blood, slime, and all) and wrapped him tightly in her arms, covering his nakedness with the warmth of her loving arms. She acted like she KNEW him…and actually LOVED him! …And she did!
While Patty’s love was instantaneous and complete, it took me a little while to realize the love that God had also given me for our son. In retrospect, I suppose you could say that Patty spent nine months getting to know our son, but I still contend that the love of a mother is unique and profound. As for the love of parents, I can tell you that nothing can ever lessen the love that we feel for our children. (That love, itself, a gift from God.)
When I think of a mother’s love, I think of sacrificial love (the kind of love the Bible calls “Agape” [a-gá-pay]. It’s the kind of love that will do or sacrifice anything and everything possible for the well-being of the one who is loved. There are numerous examples of mothers with this kind of love in the Bible, and I would like to introduce just two of those: Jochebed and Pharaoh’s Daughter.
Jochebed was married to a Levite named Amran about 400 years after Joseph had brought his whole family to Egypt. During the interim the family of Jacob had grown to become a sizable part of the Egyptian population, probably a million or more of them living in the Goshen province in Northern Egypt. The Egyptians had since enslaved the Israelites and forced them to build the cities of Pithom and Rameses.
Jochebed and Amran already had two children, Myriam and Aaron. Out of fear that the Israelites were becoming too populous, the current king of Egypt ordered all newborn male babies to be killed by drowning them in the Nile river.
Jochebed became pregnant and had a son. That old “mother’s agape love” kicked in and she couldn’t bear to have the Egyptian solders find him and kill him. So she waterproofed a basket with pitch and placed her baby son in it, placing it in the reeds by the riverbank near where she knew Pharaoh’s daughter bathed, praying that the king’s daughter would find him and have compassion on him. She sent the baby’s big sister to follow along and watch what would happen.
When Pharaoh’s daughter discovered the baby in the reeds, she immediately recognized him as a Hebrew baby and took pity on him. At this point, Myriam (the big sister) came out of hiding and volunteered to find a Hebrew woman to nurse the child. Pharaoh’s daughter agreed, and even offered to pay the nurse to raise the child until he became old enough to be adopted as her royal son. Big sister Myriam, immediately returned to fetch the boy’s real mother, Jochebed to raise her own son. They named the boy “Moses” which means “drawn out of the water”.
That maternal “agape” love is seen in this story in both Moses’ birth-mom, Jochebed, and his adoptive mother, Pharaoh’s daughter (who was willing to defy her father the king for love of a baby she had never herself carried.) Total, instantaneous love for a child, willing to do or sacrifice anything possible for the well-being of that child; for Jochebed, she risked loosing her child to someone else forever, so he could live. For Pharaoh’s daughter, she risked her father’s wrath and losing his love (and her position, or even life) for love of this child she had only just seen.
When we have mothers like these, we are truly blessed and have much for which to give thanks. And so, indeed, remember and give thanks for and to your mother this Mother’s Day.
But as deep, sacrificial, and powerful the love of a good mother is, it could not be so without the love of THE Good Father and THE Good Son . . . because the “agape” love of a good mother is only a dim reflection of the source of “agape” love; God.
God, the Father, who brought all things into existence through His Son, loves and has proven His love for every single baby ever conceived. His love for us…for YOU is so deep, so wide, and so full that He would do and has done anything – EVERYTHING divinely possible so that you should live with Him and experience all that He would give to you forever. God the Son gave up even His own life so that YOU could live. He sacrificed EVERYTHING for you.
And just like my wife Patty loved my son Aaron, even before she ever saw him, so also, and even more so, does God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit love you, and calls you by name, saying to you with open and loving arms, “Come here [your name].”
The sheep hear [the good shepherd’s] voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. (John 10:3)
I [Jesus] am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. (John 10:11)
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. (1 John 3:1)
Rev. Nick Wirtz is pastor of Faith Lutheran Church at 2750 Mogollon Dr. in Overgaard, AZ and can be reached at (323) 717-4390. Pastor Nick resides in Overgaard with his wife Patricia. He has spent over 20 years as a pastor in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod with most of that time spent in bi-lingual (English-Spanish) ministry. He also serves on the board of the local Salvation Army as an advisor, and as Chaplain for Post 86 American Legion Riders. He’s also known to be seen pickin’ a little guitar around town from time to time.