Let yourself become open to God and the knowledge that comes from the Word. Ask God for peace at this time.
Ruth 4: 11-17 (NRSV)
Then all the people who were at the gate, along with the elders, said, “We are witnesses. May the LORD make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, who together built up the house of Israel. May you produce children in Ephrathah and bestow a name in Bethlehem; and, through the children that the LORD will give you by this young woman, may your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.”
So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. When they came together, the LORD made her conceive, and she bore a son. Then the women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the LORD, who has not left you this day without next-of-kin; and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Then Naomi took the child and laid him in her bosom, and became his nurse. The women of the neighborhood gave him a name, saying, “A son has been born to Naomi.” They named him Obed; he became the father of Jesse, the father of David.
I have a confession to make. As a pastor, I struggle with planning and preparing worship for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. There seems to be an unwritten rule that while these holidays are not official “church” holidays like Christmas and Easter, they are holidays we are to celebrate in the church. Now don’t misunderstand me, I’m all for celebrating moms and dads. As a father myself, I like the thought of getting celebrated and the truth is most of us who are parents probably feel that one day of celebrating one of our greatest blessings—the blessing of a child, is not enough. Only one day, seriously? But I still struggle with these days. Robin and I had been married several years without the blessing of a child. Friends close to our ages were sending their kids off to school while we remained childless. During this time, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day were reminders that we were not blessed with children. We started the adoption process. We waited. We waited as birth mothers skipped over us electing and choosing others to parent and raise the child placed into adoption. We kept waiting as our family friends were enjoying life with their now elementary aged school kids. Finally, we got the call that our family had been chosen, and we received the blessing for which we had waited and waited. We finally had a son we named Benjamin. Others our age are going to their children’s high school ball games and we are going to kindergarten parent night this school year, but we are blessed.
While Naomi had children of her own, she had to see what no mother ever wants to see—the death of her sons. She believed her life was over. She had no more children, no more blessings, nothing that she could pass to the next generation. I’m sure those beliefs vanished when she held Obed in her arms.
Even as a father, I still struggle with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. I realize that sitting in our congregations, there are those who have no biological or adopted children. There are those who may have had an abusive parent growing up and those days are not fond memories for them. But we still celebrate because we all have a heavenly parent who loves us unconditionally. Whether we have children of our own or not, everyone in the church parents someone, as a Sunday School teacher, nursery worker, supporter of children or youth ministries, a volunteer in VBS, mentor, prayer partner, or in any number of ways that God uses to mix up the generations in God’s family of faith.
God, thank you for all the blessings in life that we enjoy. Thank you for our families, both biological, as well as our families of faith in our churches. Help us to make the most of the opportunities you give us to share our faith with the next generations. Amen.
Go with God!