Friday, May 8, 2009

5/10- Church as Mother

(St. John Basilica Lateran- considered the mother church of the Roman Catholics)
Devotional using scripture, quote from John Calvin and thoughts for the day each day- on the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth.

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24,25)

Calvin (Speaking of the church): There is no other way to enter into life unless this mother conceive us in her womb, give us birth, [and] nourish us at her breast....[A]way from her bosom one cannot hope for any forgiveness of sins or any salvation…Our weakness does not allow us to be dismissed from her school until we have been pupils all our lives…the spiritual life is limited to his glock, so that it is always disastrous to leave the church." (IV.1.4)

Maybe on Mother’s Day it is good to remember that while we are to honor our fathers and our mothers, there is no perfect mother here. People talk about dysfunctional families as if some families really are functional. If we expect a perfect family, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment.
We may do the same thing about our mother church. There is no perfect church. Sometimes people when they move away look nostalgically back to their former church as almost perfect. But even then it is not really. Every church has problems, and to think we can form a perfect church.
One of Calvin’s enemies made fun of him for not having any children one time. His reply was that he had a son, but he died too soon. But then he said that he had many children in the faith. The church really is like a mother- nurturing us, strengthening us, giving us shelter/sanctuary.
In the South, Mother’s Day was the most attended church service of the year- with better attendance than even Christmas or Easter. In part this was because mother’s would request their kids to go with them to church on Mother’s Day. That is not true any more. Many mothers have forsaken the church. But the church, like a good mother, always welcomes people back.

Prayer: Today, Lord, bless those who are mothers. Bless those who also want to be mothers but cannot. Bless those mothers who are grieving.

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