While folks everywhere have mothers and many will gather in churches to honor their mothers, I suspect that many here at St John’s do not know that a Methodist mother created what we now celebrate every second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day.
In the late 1860s, before there was an official Mother’s Day holiday in the U.S., a Methodist mom organized “Mothers’ Friendship Day,” at which mothers gathered with former Union and Confederate soldiers to promote peace and reconciliation.
Harriet Olson, Chief Executive, United Methodist Women writes: “When Ann Jarvis was working to establish Mother’s Day as a national event, and when her daughter picked up the mantle from her, they were not thinking about greeting cards and flowers.”
Instead the Methodist women who invented the idea in America wanted to honor mothers in a deeper way.
Harriet Olson goes on to say, “They were thinking about the work of women and the significant testimony that women could give about the need for peace.”
We also want to remember that sometimes, we have folks in our midst, while everyone else celebrates their moms, for them, it’s a time of pain or conflict—maybe it’s the woman that is unable or chooses not to have children or recently lost a child or maybe it’s the folks without a positive experience of mother in their lives or maybe it’s the children being raised by two dads or the grandparents raising their grandchildren or just maybe, it’s that first Mother’s Day after the death of a favorite parent.
So, yes we do celebrate Mother’s Day, newly aware of its historic Methodist roots with its Call for Peace. But let us also be aware of the pain this day might cause for some. We certainly all share together this journey we call life! We celebrate and we cry together!