Easter 7, 2013 (Exaudi)
Delivered By
Pr. Mark D. Lovett
Delivered On
May 12, 2013
Central Passage
John 15:25 - 6:4

On Mother’s Day

In the name of the Father and of the X Son and of the Holy Spirit.

The apostle Paul writes in Galatians 4, that the Jerusalem from above is our mother. The Jerusalem from above is the city of God, the dwelling place of the Most High. The Jerusalem from above is not the heaven of Hallmark cards and television shows. The Jerusalem from above is His Church, where God dwells, Emmanuel, God with us.

This Jerusalem, the new Jerusalem, Paul says, is our mother. We are born of her; born free because she is free. We are born of water and the Spirit, not by the will of men, but by the will of God. We are children of God, adopted by God the Father on the reputation of the Son, in His name, to live in His city, which is our mother. And that makes us brothers and sisters.

And like all brothers and sisters, we fight and bicker. We jockey for the best seat at the table. We call names and pull hair and try to take what the other has. Sometimes literally, like little selfish children, but most often in our gossip and raised eyebrows when we talk about what other don’t deserve and how we’re better sons and daughters of God than they are.

And what does mother do when her children fight and play the fool? She loves her children. She teaches them. She doesn’t just make things fair or make the one in the wrong apologize for their rotten behavior. She tells her children to apologize to one another, to hug and tell each other that they love one another. In the moment, she knows they only mean it half-heartedly or maybe not at all. But she isn’t just concerned with the moment. She is concerned with their whole life. She is teaching them a lesson to build on. That her children love one another, and that no matter how they fight and bicker and call each other names, they are her children and she loves them and they are to love one another.

And what do wicked children do? They say to their mother, “You have to say that, you’re our mother.” And they are not wrong. Because she is their mother, she must say and do these things. But that doesn’t mean they are not born of love. It does not cheapen the love of a mother when she loves her children because they are her children.

Because she is their mother she loves them no matter how stupid, foolish, and pig-headed they are. No matter what they’ve done to her or to others, a mother loves her children. She longs for her children. Even if imperfectly, sometimes selfishly so as to cover up her bad parenting, she still yearns for things to be right between her and her children. Woe to her if she does not love and nurture and yearn for and fight to protect her children. Not because she will suffer some punishment is she does not do these things, but because if she doesn’t do these things she will be denying her nature and will waste away from the inside out.

And because she does these things, because she loves her children, she hopes that all her love and all her caring for and all her admonishing will remind her little babies that no matter what happens in this big, cruel, evil world, they will always have a mother at home who loves them, will care for them, and will receive them with open arms. How important a mother’s affection is toward her children when they are little. It ingrains in the hearts of her children that it’s safe with mom, it’s good with mom. It’s stress-free and restful with mom. And how devastating and lonely it is for a child who is denied the affections of her mother when she is little. The world would have us believe that motherhood is less than it is; a mere accident to being a woman. But our heavenly Father tells us what motherhood really is: a picture of the love of God.

Our Lord tells His disciples that He has said these things to them while He was with them to keep them from falling away. He knows what sort of evil, wicked world this is. And like a mother, He would instill in us His love for us so that when the world turns ugly and cruel and our sins get the better of us, we know that it’s safe with Him. It’s good with the Lord. It’s stress-free and restful with the Lord because He doesn’t hole our sins against us. He doesn’t consider how stupid or foolish or pig-headed we’ve been, He doesn’t consider what we’ve done to Him or to others, He ingrains in us that we will always have a Lord who will receive us.

From when we are very little, resting in our mother’s lap as the preacher preaches God’s word, too little to know or care. To when we are young children, fidgety in the pew, to when we are adolescents who pretend not to care and are bored with the whole thing; through our adult years when we wander and are swayed by the world’s pleasures and are unfaithful, even unto gray hairs and when we lay our head once more in the lap of our mother to fall asleep in the Lord, always the Lord is loving us, receiving us, teaching us, feeding us, welcoming us into His Father’s house and caring for us as a mother cares for her children.

The apostle Paul tells us that the Jerusalem from above is our mother. She is not founded on the will of men or built by the strength of men. She is founded on the rock that is Christ, built with His blood and fortified by His passion. And you are the children of the heavenly Jerusalem. Here is your home where your Lord receives and eats with you; where He teaches you to love one another; where He covers your sins with His love and washes you clean with His word. Here is the Lord’s house where He gathers His children and where He keeps watch over His little ones.

+In Nomine Iesu +