A MOTHER’S DAY SERMON

Last night I decided to post a Mother’s Day post.  I had posted one here, and there was no point in featuring that story again.  So I looked for other material, among my books.  Couldn’t find anything.

Then I remembered something I’d seen on a sign in front of a nearby house once, a partial Bible verse:  And call no man your father upon the earth

And I remembered looking up the verse then.

It’s Matthew 23 : 9, and it reads, in its entirety:

And call no man your father upon the earth:  for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

It’s included among many teachings  in a chapter in which Jesus condemns the actions of the scribes and Pharisees, and urges his disciples and other followers not to be like them.

Did Jesus actually say this?  We don’t know–his words were not written down as he spoke them, but recalled decades after his death.  Yet we can assume he did–it seems consistent with many of his other alleged teachings.  And even if he didn’t, it doesn’t matter–it never matters who says (or writes) something, but what is said (or written).

Still–why did I recall this, when considering a Mother’s Day post?  I think it’s because it would logically apply to the opposite sex, as well.  Jesus does not add:

And call no woman your mother upon the earth:  for one is your Mother, which is in heaven.

But he almost certainly would have, if necessary.  The society in which Jesus lived–especially being a part of the notoriously sexist Roman Empire–simply did not acknowledge women.  And even though Jesus acknowledged women, the religion of his mother and father might definitely have considered it blasphemous to even think of the “one…in heaven” as a mother too.  So Jesus wouldn’t have needed to add that.

Yet if the “one…in heaven” is our Father, the “one…in heaven” is also our Mother. 

Though we have (and have had) many names for the “one…in heaven”–Yahweh, God, and Allah being only three among thousands, if not millions–I prefer to call our Creator–well, the Creator.  Because that’s the name with which I best relate.

Likewise, I think of the Creator as male, because I’m male–if I were a woman I might just as well think of the Creator as female.  Truth is, of course, that though the Creator is a being of both masculine and feminine characteristics, the Creator is neither male nor female.  Yet, having both masculine and feminine characteristics, the Creator is arguably both our Mother and our Father.

Did the man and woman who conceived me create me?  No.  They just produced me.  They simply, through sexual intercourse, combined materials created by the Creator.  Thus it amuses me when a man and woman agree to “make a baby!”

It also amuses me when the earth is called our “Mother.”  Yes, our pre-Enlightenment ancestors, worldwide, thought of the earth as our Mother and the sky as our Father–and understandably so.  But we now know that the earth is just a tiny planet, orbiting a tiny sun that is, itself, one of numerous suns in one of numerous galaxies in a universe that is–for all we know–infinite.  And I cannot help but sarcastically remind those who still worship the earth as our “Mother”–that when our sun burns itself out in approximately 2.5 billion years, it will literally melt “Mother Earth” and “Father Sky” together into its expanding self!  How’s that for the ultimate consummation?

Who is our Mother, and who is our Father?  The Creator is both.  And who is the Creator?  The one who created us–the same one who created our earthly parents, our ancestors (human and pre-human), our planet, our sky (atmosphere), our sun, our galaxy, and our universe.

There’s nothing wrong with honoring our earthly mothers (provided they deserve our honor, of course), just as there’s nothing wrong with honoring our earthly fathers (provided they deserve our honor, of course). 

But let us also remember our true Mother and Father–our Creator.

And call no man your father upon the earth:  for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

And call no woman your mother upon the earth:  for one is your Mother, which is in heaven.

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