This is a passage from a sermon delivered for Mother’s day by Susan Harriss, one of the first women ordained by the Episcopal church in the United States.
Happy Mother’s day, everyone!
As mothers, as fathers, we have at our disposal a wonderful time of rehearsal. We may set aside our interests time and again; we may practice watching the interests of others. But if that sacrificial love starts with our children, and stops there, we will have lost our opportunity to fulfill Christ’s commandment, and so have everything that He has promised. Christ’s commandment is that we love, not just our children, but one another!
…Jesus said, ‘whosoever loses his life for my sake, will keep it for eternity.’ If my sacrifice, and yours, is not so much pointed at personal fulfillment, and not even toward the health and education of my children, but beyond that, to the love of the world and God’s creation, then I have resurrection. Whatever I have lost, I will have gained–not in the shining faces and adulation of my own children but in the living fabric of the world they inhabit.
This is the best news of all, because, mothers and fathers, when our time has come, when, having fulfilled the duties of our state of life we are free to address ourselves to the needs of the world, when it comes time to love one another as Jesus loved us, we already know how! We have already learned! How to teach, how to feed, how to tend, how to heal, how to care, how to love. But it is different with us this time, because we act not out of duty. This time, in addition to knowing how to love, we also know why.
Because He first loved us. Because Christ has risen. Because in addition to being seen, spotted, glimpsed walking on earth, our beloved Christ has begun to dwell within us. …Having practiced our scales, played the daily exercises of love for our children, the scales of our belonging, now we come to the concerto. Now the music begins. Having loved our own, we now can love the world. Now we rise to the task for which parenting prepared us. Because he loved us; because while we lost ourselves not just in sin but in duty, not just in forgetfulness but in earnestness, in our sincere desire to do what was right for our children, because although we lost ourselves in our mothering, God remembered us, and brought us forward, and made us new.