Tuesday, March 13, 2018


INTRODUCTION -- I have never posted or otherwise published any of my sermons.  In part this is because I am lazy.  When outlining my sermons, I don't write down every word, or instructions for actions, and they can be difficult reading for anyone else.  However, I wanted to share this sermon, so it is up to the READER to imagine the portions that are sketchy.


I want to begin with a disclaimer. Nothing I say today is meant to disparage men. Some of my best friends are men. Hey, I even married one.       

Neither do I want to imply that Fathers or less important than Mothers. Fathers are of equal importance, but what they bring to our lives is different. Their roles are different, and today I want to focus on Mothers.

I also want to be clear that when I say Mothers, I am not excluding those who have never given birth. Some of the best Mothers have never given birth, but have provided nurture and love to others, especially to those in need of their care. They are Mothers in every sense of the word.

Now, I want you to help me preach this sermon on Mothers. First, form groups in pews, so you can share your answers to some questions:
(Let members form groups; then ask the first three questions for them to each discuss and answer in the groups.)

1.        What food do you associate with your Mother?
2.        What object do you associate with your Mother?
3.        What memory of something you did or something you do with your mother comes first to your mind?

(Ask this last question for them to respond outlaid after the count of 3)
4.        Choose one single word that you feel best describes your Mother.

a.         Dont share with your group. (Shout it out)
b.        On the count of three -- 1,2,3 (Make comment on the fact that for so many, the WORD was LOVE.)

Scripture Reading 1 John 4: 7-9, 16.  Read scripture



When God created women he wired them with some very specific neurological, hormonal, and emotional responses so that they would love and feed and protect babies. Most women know this from their own feelings and responses. But Scientists have wired women to machines to test their brain waves; to record their eye movements; or to record hormones in their blood stream, and these have shown that we are wired or created to respond to babies and children in very special ways. God created Mothers to Love babies and children, and to give them the love they need to grow and prosper.

Studies of innate responses in mothers The cry of an infant will elicit an alarm response in women. The sight of a baby elicits a warm, emotional response, a desire to hold, to kiss, to cuddle. In fact it doesnt have to be a baby. Anything with Big eyes and a small face can evoke emotional and hormonal responses. Puppies, kittens, all small helpless creatures tend to evoke a care response in many women. Women are created to nurture weak, helpless, needy things even Men.


Studies of mothering in monkeys (briefly tell the story of the baby monkeys raised without mothers)  No mother love = difficulty relating to others; difficulties sharing, difficulties finding mates, difficulties raising their own infants. Generations are disrupted. The Love you received as an infant is what allows you to Love. Love is passed down from generation to generation. If the chain of love and trust is disrupted, it is difficult to reestablish. If you are able to love your wife, you should probably give credit to your Mother. That should give wives a whole new perspective on their Mother-in-Laws.


Inside each of us is what scientists call mitochondrial DNA. This is DNA we receive from our Mothers. It is passed down from Mother to child over generations with only minimal changes even over centuries. Inside every cell in your body is DNA passed to you from your Mother, and from her Mother and from her Mother and from her Mother back to the beginning of time.  So look around you this morning. You are looking at your maternal cousins. WE ALL SHARE COMMON MITOCHONDRIAL. We are all related. Every human being so far tested can be traced back to one single MOTHER.

Science over the past decade has proven the existence of EVE, the single Mother from whom we are all descended. I hope it doesn’t upset any of you too much to realize the kinship you have to those around you. Kind of startling isn’t it.
Moreover, this same science that traces us back to EVE has found that all of those whose DNA has been tested are descended from ONLY Seven Women. Imagine that one Mother for us all; and only seven women  over the ALL THE generations AND CENTURIES. Only seven women whose daughters have survived to pass their DNA on to us. We are all the grandchildren of these daughters of Eve. Seven women whose Love and genes have been passed down to us over the ages, and dwell within each of us. What a common bond we share.
Before moving forward in today’s lesson, I want to read a passage of particular import from Genesis. 

Genesis 1: Verses 26-27.
Now, I have to tell you, I grew up reading the Bible, but when I was in my 30’s I was given some grammar lessons in Hebrew that had a great impact on me. 
When I was approaching my 30th birthday, we moved from Shreveport to New York City where I studied at the City University of New York. Now the City U system of New York was largely established because Jewish students couldn’t get into the private universities. These had quotas for Jews, and only admitted a specific number, so the rest who wanted to go to college attended one of the universities created by the City of New York. Because of this heritage, most of my professors and most of my fellow students were Jewish.

One of the women with whom I studied was the daughter of a Rabbi, the wife of a Rabbi, and she eventually became the Mother of a Rabbi. She was a Kohein, a direct descendent of Moses brother Aaron.

One of the classes we took together was comparative linguistics. In this course we talked about how the language we speak influences the way we think about our world. For example, in the language spoken by Eskimos, there are over 40 words for snow, and they can perceive each of these differences. We have only one word, and cant make fine distinctions between one type of snow and another. In the Navajo language, there is no past or future tense, and their perception of time is quite different from ours. They see time in universals rather than in a continuous line.

My Jewish friend gave an example from Hebrew, and used the verses I just read in her comparison with English. She pointed out that in Verse 26, the translator used the plural pronoun US In the phrase “Let us make. And the plural possessive pronoun Our in the phrase In Our image. While in Verse 27, the pronouns are His His image and He in He created.

She told us that the Hebrew language has a pronoun which is used for God and which is neither male nor female. The pronoun Hebrew uses for God encompasses both male and female and isn’t gender specific. English, like Greek and Latin only has singular pronouns that are gender specific. That is, we say he, or his, or him for males and she, or her for females. We do have plural pronouns that are not gender specific, such as they, them, us or our, to refer to groups that may be of mixed gender.

She said that when the Bible was translated into Greek, the Greek language didn’t have a singular pronoun that didn’t indicate gender. Thus, the translators had to use either plural pronouns as in verse 26 or a gender specific singular pronoun for use in verse 27. The Greek translators choose a masculine pronoun for God, assuming that an all- powerful God must be male.

After the class I had to ask her more about the theology behind the Hebrew pronoun. After all, isn’t God male? She said that the God of the Hebrews was never thought of as human, and thus was neither man nor woman -- neither male nor female. She said that they know that God possesses both the characteristics we consider Male, and the characteristics we consider Female. They know this because God created both Men and Women in God’s image.  If God were exclusively male, God could not create women who are different from men. If God were exclusively female, God could not create men as different from Women. Since both men and women are created in God’s image, they know that the characteristics of both men and women exist in God.

WOW!! This idea that God does not have a gender blew my mind. My amazement was even more marked when she went on to say that Jesus, a Rabbi, would not have prayed Our Father who art in Heaven. The word he would have used in Hebrew should be translated more accurately as either “Our Parent or as Our Father and Mother.

Double WOW!! What an amazing idea. Is it possible that our Heavenly Parent is not only strong, and powerful, with great expectations for us; but is also gentle, and forgiving, and accepting of our faults? What an amazing thought.

This conversation and these ideas were recently brought back to me because of a book that I read. How many of you have read the book, The Shack by William Young? Im not surprised. Since it was published in 2007, it has become a best seller, and has stirred up a lot of controversy. Let me tell the rest of you a little about it without giving the plot away.

 The main character is a man, who has led a tragic life. He had an abusive father and ran away from home very young. But he met a Christian woman, became a faithful Christian and they had a beautiful family. Then their beautiful five-year-old daughter was kidnapped from a campground, was abused and murdered by a pedophile. The man blamed God, lost his faith, and became terribly depressed.

Now, I have to tell you that when I first tried to read this book, I put it down and quit reading because I couldn’t cope with the horror of what this Father was experiencing. I didn’t finish reading it for over a year. And I only picked up again because members of my Sunday School class were raving about how wonderful it was.

I quite reading before the miracle. From the pits of depression, this man receives an invitation, and spends a weekend in a shack with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Now, here’s where a lot of other readers put the book down. They don’t like the personifications the author chose for the main characters. Jesus appears in the story as a Jewish man. The Holy Spirit appears as an Asian woman. AND God first appears to him as an African American Woman. A lot of readers find these characterizations of the Trinity to be offensive.

But as God explains later, this man needs a Mother-image because of his problems with his father. Only as a woman can God find this mans heart, and free him from the demons that haunt him. Only as a woman can God reach his mind and soul and transform him. And he is transformed by the lessons he learns from Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and God.

One of the major lessons of the book are the different roles each of the members of the Trinity plays in our lives. The reader comes away understanding why God has three persons, and how each is important to each of us.
You also realize that God is both a father and a mother to each of His children. Within God are the attributes of the best possible Father AND the attributes of the best possible Mother.

Your ability to be a loving Father. Your ability to be a loving Mother. Your ability to Love at all, comes directly from God, because GOD IS LOVE. There is no other source of Love in this world. Love is the essential essence of God, and it is this essence that He placed within us at our creation. 

We are able to Love only because we were created in the image of God. The extent to which we are able to express love, to share love, to give love, to receive love is directly related to our experience of God. If we don’t love, he is not in us. The more we love, the closer we are to Him. If we grow in his knowledge and favor, we will grow in Love. Love is both the inward grace he gives us; and the outward evidence of our relationship with Him.

How good a Christian are you? It is not measured by how frequently you enter a church. It is not measured by how much you put in the collection plate. It is not even measured by how often you read the Bible or how often you pray. It is measured by how much you LOVE. How much you Love God; and how much you Love Others.

There are those who will only know the Love of God through You. You were placed here by God to share His Love with them. There is someone who will only know God’s Love through You. There is someone who needs God’s love, and is waiting for you to give that Love.  God is waiting for you to demonstrate your love for Him by showing Love to someone else. He has no other channel for His Love except through you. Are you giving God’s love to others?

 We are going to close now with prayer. First, we will pray silently, and then I will lead us in prayer. During the silent prayer, reflect on God’s love for you, and ask Him to draw you closer into His love. Ask him to help you to grow in the Love you are able to feel and express for Him and for others, and especially pray for those who need your love. LET US PRAY

Our Heavenly Father and Mother: (pray)  then say:
While the choir sings the closing hymn, if you are moved by Gods love for you; if you are moved by memories of the Love God transmitted to you through your Mother, come to the altar, and commit yourself to growing in Gods love. Commit yourself to sharing Gods love with those around you, especially to those who look to you to be a Father or a Mother.