One day of the year often seems like not enough to honor the women whom we respect and love the most. Our mothers have been inspirations to us since the day we were born. They are there for us when we need help. Even as their children grow into adulthood, good mothers remain a stabilizing source of encouragement to their children.
If you’re like me, you probably look forward to hearing the classic “Mother’s Day sermon” as you head to church on that special Sunday every year. It is the same in many churches – the preacher steps to the front, opens his Bible to the 31st chapter of Proverbs and begins reading to the congregation about the “virtuous woman”. The woman the preacher reads about is brave and strong. She is wise. She works hard for her family, and she loves them unconditionally.
As a child, I would hear about the Virtuous Woman and wonder – how does she do it? How am I supposed to ever live up to such a high standard? And how have other women – including my own mother – lived up to that standard before me? Ask any mother, and you will probably learn that she is not perfect. Making mistakes is all part of the job. I would venture to say that even the Virtuous Woman was not perfect. So then how was she able to manage so much responsibility and still be so great?
She was motivated by love. Love is the thing that drives mothers to keep going when their baby was awake all night crying. Love keeps them going when they are exhausted from running all over town to pick up their children from school, go to the grocery store, and still make it to PTA meetings and their kids’ sports games. Being a mother is one of the most difficult jobs in the world – but I would argue it is the most important. For some mothers, their job is to stay at home to watch their children and build a place of refuge for their family. For others, their job is to leave their home every morning and work to provide for their family. Both mothers are inspired and motivated by love to provide for their children and build for them a nurturing environment.
A mother’s love for her children is a direct example of Christ’s love for us. Isaiah 66:13 says, “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you…” (NIV). Christ is the ultimate example of love. He laid down his life to lift us up – and there is no greater love than that.
The music chosen for a Mother’s Day service should not only reflect a mother’s love for her children, but also Christ’s love for us. I’m reminded of the beautiful poetry of a song that has been published by Fred Bock Music for dozens of years. A Mother’s Love is written for two-part treble chorus with keyboard accompaniment. The melody is simple, and the harmonies are beautiful. Every note, rhythm, and dynamic marking work together to highlight the beautiful poetic text, written by Grace Noll Crowell. The opening lines set the mood for the remainder of the piece: “Something of God is in a mother’s love, something of his tenderness and care…”
The piece closes with a reminder that Mother’s Day is not only a time to celebrate and appreciate mothers, but it is also a day to honor God for his generosity and love for us. Mothers are God’s gift to us.
Even though being a mother may often seem like a daunting task at times, it is encouraging to know that God has given us the best example through the Virtuous Woman in Proverbs 31. Just as God gave the Virtuous Woman strength to be the best mother and provider for her family, God gives the mothers of today the strength to be the same. He gives us little reminders along the way that he is there to help us – through music, art, and scripture. Through Christ, we have the power to give more of ourselves than we ever thought possible. What better way to give back than through making music that glorifies him?