Mother’s Day May 9 2021
May the Words of my mouth and thoughts of our hearts, be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, our strength and our redeemer. Amen
Gen 35:8 Rebecca's nurse Deborah died and was buried beneath the oak south of
Bethel. So it was named "Oak of Weeping."
There is something very poignant in this verse.
It’s surrounded by mayhem
People doing bad things to each other
scheming, all the family battles that go on.
Rebecca is the wife of Jacob. His favourite wife
his beloved wife
and yet we hear nothing of her mother
the mother is never on the scene
just her father Laban and her sister Leah.
And all sorts of family disputes and
whatever goes on
and then out of the blue not too long before Rebecca herself dies in childbirth, we
“Rebecca's nurse Deborah died and was buried beneath the oak south of Bethel. So it
was named "Oak of Weeping." “
And I guess the intriguing thing for me is that in the annals of Israel
in their history
a scared history defining their purpose in this world,
defining their relationship with God,
we read: Rebecca's nurse Deborah died and was buried beneath the oak south of
Bethel. So it was named "Oak of Weeping."
We don’t know her name.
We don’t know her age
we no nothing other than
she was Rebecca’s nurse.
Not her sister Leah’s nurse as well – just Rebecca’s nurse.
I find it intriguing!
Did Rebecca’s mother die young?
We don’t know,
and yet for this matriarch of Israel
this woman this nurse was a mother and more.
Maybe by implication she had fed her
has nursed Rebecca as a baby
and that relationship had carried on.
Certainly she was obviously a leading figure in Rebecca’s life
so much so that
when she died
Rebecca would have been terribly distraught
and Jacob along with her
and she is buried, I wonder if there is some significance, under
an oak a symbol of majesty and strength
and the oak is named, The Oak of Weeping.
Certainly Rebecca was blessed by her presence
this obviously stable woman
who long after Rebecca had need for a nurse
remained with her and for her.
Such a figure that she is recorded forever in history.
Not as a warrior
or anything other that in our world we might consider
important but as a woman who cared and loved
and when she died
the whole tribe mourned her.
We have had one
we are one
we may have given birth to one.
That I hope includes all of us.
I remember as a child in Canada camping
and across the small lake was a mother bear and two cubs.
The mother obviously was aware we were waking up
and it began to chase her cubs up the hill
to keep them safe.
The cubs were oblivious to any danger and they would get to the top of the hill
and tumble down.
The mother would chase them back up with cuffs around the head.
We once witnessed a number of bears in a garbage dump.
Up a tree were two cubs
and at the base of the tree, you guessed it
warning off any male bear that came near to the tree.
The message being: Don’t mess with me, I’m a mother and I know my role.
The daddy bears – well goodness knows where they were
off doing the male thing
whatever male bears do. Probably eating!
And you’ve probably heard similar stories.
Don’t come between a cow and its calf.
The cow will trample you.
Where is the daddy cow?
generally you have been the ones
who have put up so much
and have ministered to your children
or you’ve been ministered to by a mother.
I’m talking generally – some mothers
for whatever reason
But I know when it was cold at night as a child
the arms, the hands, that came and tucked me in
were my mother’s hands.
The parent that found the extra blanket was my mother.
And when I had a bad dream
it was my mother’s side of the bed I would climb into.
Not my fathers.
Interesting isn’t it?
I guess that’s probably why when the Bible writers want to express the caring intimate
nature of God
they use mother images.
Hosea portrays God as
a mother, teaching her child to walk
feeding her child
drawing her child to her with love and affection.
The agony that God goes through in creating a people is written in terms of a mother
And when Jesus weeps over the lostness of Jerusalem
just before he is killed
he pictures himself as a mother hen
gathering her chicks close to her
sheltering them under her wings
to keep them safe.
Meanwhile the rooster would be strutting around doing what roosters do.
It’s the hen, the mother bear, the cow, that protects and nourishes
and keeps safe.
We had a litter of kittens and the children had one out on the carpet playing with it.
Enter momma cat and she leapt in amongst our children and grabbed her tiny kitten
and with a graceful leap carried it by the scruff of its neck into its box and safety.
And I remember thinking: God is like that mother cat.
By the mother’s grace and love the kitten was kept safe.
On mother’s day I’m reminded too that
Jesus mission as he travelled about with the ‘boys’
was financed by some wealthy and some not so wealthy women
who travelled with them.
In 40 years of ministry if I’ve Iearned one thing other than Grace
it is that women are generally closer to the heart of God than men.
They intuitively know and feel the power and need for love and mercy and forgiveness.
I think too, that it’s probably why God chose women to be the first witnesses to the
resurrection of Jesus and to be the first proclaimers of the gospel – to the men.
So mothers and women – today we honour you.
You probably taught most of us to pray;
you lead us to the Father’s Heart
and in your love
demonstrated the feminine nature of God.
Without your persistence I doubt there would be a church.
From the beginning you were leaders.
You were and are the grace notes in the church
that brought us the joy and the love of God.
Like Rebecca’s nurse, you made a difference
and so we honour you today.
Thank you and may God richly bless you
for your faithfulness and love down the centuries.
I for one, would not have known the heart of God
but for a women. My mother.
Happy Mothers Day
Now unto God the Father, God the Son and God, the holy Spirit, be all the honour and
glory, world without end. Amen
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