Sometimes it takes an outsider to see things from a fresh perspective. In my early 40s, I decided that I needed to become “more spiritual.” I used to joke that I was not raised in a Christian home, which is why I grew up Methodist. But that’s a long story, and not a slam at the Methodists, folks.
Since I couldn’t find the books on Hindu writings an aunt had given me, I picked up a copy of the King James Bible and began to read. The Gospel of John fell open so I started with that. I read a few chapters, then began to laugh. Not in fun, but in delight. At the story of the wedding at Cana.
A few years later, while attending a spiritual formation class at a local Presbyterian seminary, (I had come a long way, baby) the class members were asked to read, interpretatively, a passage of Scripture. I decided on John Chapter 2. This is the beginning of that chapter using the New King James Version translation. As many of you know, this is considered the first miracle performed by Jesus.
“On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Now both Jesus and his disciples were invited to the wedding. And when they ran out of wine, the mother of Jesus said to Him, ‘They have no wine.’
Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.’
His mother said to the servants, ‘Whatever He says to you, do it.'”
This was, and still is, the delightful part of the story. Mary, who is never mentioned by name, does not figure further in this narrative. No doubt after she instructed the servants, she returned to the wedding celebrations, leaving a bemused Jesus in her wake.
Mary is much like every mother who has ever lived. She was not going to argue theological implications with Jesus. Despite the fact that he was a grown man, she needed something done (wine for the wedding) and she expected her son to do it for her. She never doubted that he would. And he did.
Some might argue Jesus was simply following the 6th Commandment to “Honor your father and your mother.” But I believe he did as she asked out of love. And He showed that love not merely by words but by His actions. In a sense, that day of the wedding at Cana might be the first Mother’s Day.
During my presentation to the class at the seminary, after I read this passage from John, I ended with the following words:
Jesus ended his earthly ministry, on a cross, in obedience to His Heavenly Father. But He began it by minding his mama.
If, on this Sunday, your mother is still alive, you too can celebrate Mother’s Day like Jesus. Do something your mother asks you to do, even if it is not the right time, or may be inconvenient. Take the time to listen to her. Show her honor and respect.
Many of us have had difficult, even painful relationships with our parents. God recognized this human condition when he only commanded us to “honor” our parents. He didn’t say we had to love them. Mother’s Day was always particularly hard for me as I did not have a good relationship with my mother. I like think we were able to come to an understanding of each other in the weeks before she died. I certainly hope so.
My wish for this day is that I have been the mother to my children that I had hoped to be and that I have their love as well as their respect.