Zoom Meeting Sermon May 14 2023

 Topic: The History of Mother’s Day

Today, we get to talk about the history of Mother’s Day, which goes back much further than most people realize.

There is something about motherhood that is almost intrinsically sacred to the human psyche. Mother is the origin of life and, for most of us, the first bond we develop with another human being. “I want my mom” is not quite universal, but close to it, and even those few who do not have such a bond with their biological mother will develop a similar bond with a surrogate mother. So it is no wonder that we have been celebrating and honoring our mothers for thousands of years.

The tradition of taking one day a year to honor mothers, Mother Goddesses, and motherhood in general began centuries ago in ancient Greece and Rome. One of the first Mother Goddesses we have a record of is Cybele, who was honored by the Romans with a celebration on the Spring Equinox. The ancient Greek equivalent to Cybele was Rhea, the mother of Zeus who saved him from being eaten by his father as an infant, thus allowing him to rescue his swallowed siblings and become the most powerful of the gods on Mount Olympus. The Greeks honored her by placing statues of her in their temples to other gods, perhaps to serve as a reminder of where those gods originated.

Mothering Sunday, originally observed in the Middle Ages, was a Christian holy day focused more on the “Mother Church” – which was the church where you were baptized - and extra tithes or contributions, along with a sermon paying homage to motherhood and the mothers in the congregation. This tradition was likely the inspiration for Mother’s Day as it was originally conceived by Anna Jarvis, the woman who petitioned to have it officially declared an American holiday in the early 20th century. She got her way in 1914, but years later determined that it had become far too commercialized and even tried to have the holiday removed from the calendar.

She kind of had a point. In modern America, Mother’s Day is a financial juggernaut. We spend billions on cards, flowers, gifts, and restaurants, and as far as we are concerned, our mothers are worth it. Maybe what Anna Jarvis did not realize is that, when Americans consider something important, the first thing we want to do is throw all of our money at it. Our mothers are important to us, so we shower them with presents and take them out to brunch to show our appreciation. It is also the busiest time of the year for phone calls to Mom, for those of us who live miles away from our mothers. All of this just shows how much our mothers – or our surrogate mothers – mean to us, which is not a bad thing.

The Path recognizes Mother’s Day as a holy day, when we take the time to show our mothers how much we appreciate everything they do. Do you celebrate Mother’s Day? If so, how do you like to celebrate it?

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