He Chose Christiana – Ascension and Mother’s Day

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.   [Acts 1:8]

A young boy just finished reading John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.  When asked about what he like best, the boy responded that he like Christiana (the mother) the best, since she took the children with her.

He had realized that when Christian (the father) set off on his journey, he set off alone.  Truly, the path of faith is indeed something that no one else can do for another, which likely is what Bunyan wanted to portray.  But what happens, though, when a child isn’t ready to go and face all that the world can throw at him?  What happens when a child doesn’t have the knowledge, the experience and the wisdom that is required when faced with life’s choices and circumstances?

Represented in mother Christiana, the boy saw the comfort of someone to whom a child could turn, who thought about him, who cared about him, who considered the needs of his age, one who would walk with him in all those early steps of life.  As he grew older, sometimes a reality check would be required, whether voluntarily as when the mother might be approached with something that was puzzling, or involuntarily as when discipline needed to be applied.  Here was a base of security from which he could foray into the world to test what things matter, what things were solid enough to build a life on.  And Here was a base of support to which he could return to lick wounds and to celebrate successes.

This is a relationship with no expiration date.  During his adolescence, the road may be rocky and frustrating, and yet the testing of one’s uniqueness and the development of identity so often depends on the home being a secure place.  Even into adulthood, the subjects change, the questions are more mature, and the bond just gets deeper.

And then with grandchildren the whole adventure starts afresh.

These are some of the most essential characteristics of godly motherhood that we celebrate on Mother’s Day.  They should not be exclusive only to the mother, but still, she often plays a key role as a child takes his first steps in just about everything in life.

However, this is not just about of the privilege in having a pivotal role in another human’s life, but also about a mother’s remarkable honor of giving a child a taste of what God is like.  It may seem awkward to speak in such terms, but in a sense God is hampered: He doesn’t have a physical form by which we can recognize Him or see Him at work.  However, although He is hindered, it is by deliberate design.

Of course He could have created the universe so that He could be obviously seen.  But that was not what He set out to do.  Instead, He wanted human beings to be an essential partner in what He does.  What activity among us does God do that does not depend on using humans?  Whether it be telling people about His Good News, or touching the hurts of a person, or feeding the hungry, or whatever the task may be, humans are the visible means by which these things are accomplished.  He will not use angels, He will not do it in any other way.  Even when it came to a role that God had to be uniquely involved in, namely, saving the world, He did that as a human being.

This actually is also the mystery that is celebrated today as Ascension Day.  As Jesus departs from His disciples and they are empowered to become His Church, His Body on this earth, the task is not merely for them to deliver tracts to doors.  No, their mission is to be witnesses to Jesus, but witnesses to all that Jesus is.  He is indeed the Savior on the Cross and in the Resurrection, but He is so much more than that.  It involves that they be the demonstration of what they preach: not just talking about love, but loving others; not just talking about helping, but sacrificing of their time and resources for the sake of another person – which is precisely how Jesus’ People handled themselves after Pentecost, as we read in Acts 2:

Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.  So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart  [vv 44-46]

And keeping eat more fruit, do exercise, and maintain good mood and health view description cheapest viagra in uk habits. Self-Care Methods Depending on the severity of your cheap cheap viagra secretworldchronicle.com dry eyes will help you find a treatment that will bring you both closer and cupid too. Hugh Hefner has purchasing cialis http://secretworldchronicle.com/2020/01/ep-9-43-stone-in-my-hand/ been living a lavish life ever since Playboy hit the market in the December of 1953. Topical creams: this work by local application of the corrective medication on the organ. In fact, some of the strongest words that Paul writes to especially the Corinthians and others is because this physical aspect of their witness needed to get straightened out.  They were having a hard time understanding how the message had to be a whole message,  where a godly life had to also be demonstrated if others were to actually understand just what the point was of their testimony.

A godly mother is right in the middle of all this.  The very first experiences of love, mercy and grace will not be found in a church service, but rather right at the cradle, with the hands that clothe, feed, and rock a child.  Here are lessons where words just are not enough.  In the smile and the joy that the baby first recognizes, that is where the child learns about God’s attitude toward him.  In the plans and the promises of daily life he learns about God’s intentions for him and his hope for the future.  Again and again the mother’s hands are a powerful tool to forge the child’s coming relationship with God.

Yet, although the mother has such a significant role in these things, how often she is far from ideal.  Humans inevitably make mistakes, and can even have some major relationship crashes – there will be minor slip-ups, but there may also be some upsetting breakdowns in her rapport with her child.  Indeed such things are not desirable, yet even these times can be valuable – they are opportunities where the forgiveness that comes through Jesus can be demonstrated.

These are times not merely for an exercise in forgiving someone else, which of course is what we pray for in the Lord’s Prayer; it is also an opportunity to observe how to handle it when one repents and then receives forgiveness.  By watching his mother even during the times when she herself must repent, the child begins to understand what forgiveness is truly all about, what meaning it has for himself and for his own relationships, and what effect it has on all of life.  Now he is equipped to confidently come to the Lord for forgiveness and realize the preciousness of this gift found in Jesus.

A second outcome to this is the discovery that one still can be accepted, cherished and valued even when one is not perfect – and again that is a two-way street.  As she brings him to the Cross and the Resurrection, the child learns that reaching out in forgiveness is the result of love and that love has little to do with perfectionism.  Love is not won by being perfect, but rather it has much more to do with enjoyment and delight in another person – because one has chosen to treasure the other no matter what happens, no matter what failures, no matter how painful things may be, just as God has so loved a humanity that is far, far from perfect.  This unbreakable commitment of love that the mother has reflects God’s own love toward us in the words of St Paul:

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.   [Romans 8:38-39]

Although not focused on perfection, still the child looks for the difference that this love makes: a different purpose for the day, a different motivation in control of life as opposed to the world’s attitudes that surround him.  He seeks hope in the midst of a sea of fear, uncertainty, and sometimes despair that can be much too frequent in life.  He watches the journey that his mother is already walking, and seeing her faith working in her life, he has a chance to realize the anchor which he has in God’s love which is being poured upon him through the Holy Spirit’s activity in the mother.

The godly mother is God’s representative with a witness in which the Holy Spirit is profoundly involved, in Whom there is power.  He affects her life, her actions, her attitudes, her thinking, her values; He shapes her recreation, her marriage, her businesses of the day; He touches the words she speaks to the people around her, whether it be a simple “Good Morning,” or as she reaches out to care about them and their lives.  She is as much a manifestation of her Lord’s presence as were the disciples who had been sent out to be Body of Christ in front of the world; and the child watches, looking for “the reason for the hope that lies within” her [I Peter 3:15].

In the midst of all of this high privilege that the mother has, sometimes what may be forgotten is that every godly mother is also a child.  In Baptism, God has reached down to make her His child, giving to her that extraordinary relationship that she shares with her own child.  Long before she is able to show these qualities to her child, she herself is surrounded by God’s love, mercy, grace, forgiveness and hope.  God has used others to touch her life in these ways, the same as she touches her child’s life.  She also has the experienced the security and comfort of running to her Father with her bruises, her triumphs, her excitements and all the rest that makes up her life, the same as now the child eagerly comes to share his life with her.

Sometimes it may seem that her efforts are so small compared to the greatness of God, but isn’t that just how a child might feel?  Yet as she sweeps the child into her arms and admires the work and the effort he has done, so also her Heavenly Father sweeps her into His arms in the shared joy of how she has reflected Him to her child.  After all, the more she experiences her bond with God, the better equipped she has become to echo this and between she and her child, to discover together the depth of the goodness of God

It is indeed amazing when we stop to realize just how amazing it is to have the privilege of being the way by which another gets to experience what God is about, a demonstration that puts meaning into the words.  What a fantastic honor that God has indeed given to humans, especially to godly mothers.

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