I grew up the youngest of four siblings. My mom the youngest of nine. And my dad the youngest of six. Our household was often bustling with family members of all ages and stages. Our concept of family extended beyond the traditional mother-father-children roles, but bled out to name aunts, uncles, big sisters, big brothers as care-givers in such a large family. We found ourselves mothered and fathered by one another in uniquely loving ways.
As we eventually grew up and out of the home, the role of mother began to take a different shape over the years. Shifting configurations of friendships through the presence of older women who've became like mothers - sharing their dreams and hopes, giving birth to new visions and pathways for my life. They’ve carried and welcomed me in like a daughter of their own.
Family in the kingdom of God is vast. It evades our own family lines to reach beyond ourselves and welcomes in those who are orphaned and estranged.
I really love the picture at the scene of the cross, where Jesus in his last moments provides a new family for his mother Mary, through John, the disciple whom he loved. Mary watches her son Jesus selflessly give his life on the cross, who in turn places a son in her life to care for her and take her in.
Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. (John 19:25-27, NIV)
How loving is God to care for us through the gift of family.
The call as we celebrate this Mother’s Day, is to remember the women in our lives who’ve raised and nurtured us - fostered environments where we could learn to stand up, and find our own footing. In the context of God’s family, we are meant to be together and caring and looking out for one another’s best interest.
Beyond that, we are called to embrace those who are hurting, and lonely as our very own kin. Jesus generously adopted us into his family by what he accomplished on the cross, and paints a picture of how we are to relate and embrace one another like our own.
Being mothered by mentors, sisters and friends in the kingdom of God - I hope to imitate this kind of radical hospitality that Jesus models for us at the cross. The vastness of his family invites all to belong, and find a home with him. May we boldly accept the family responsibility to name one another as beloved son and daughter.
Happy Mother’s Day!