Blessed Be the Tie

Thank God all our women today. They tie us together. They tie us to themselves; to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. They tie us to heaven. Thank God for all our women.

Blessed be the tie that binds!

Now no one ties us quite like mom. My grandma used to say, "Moms tie us to their apron strings when we are little, and to their heart strings as we grow." Nanny was right. The bond is for life, joy, sorrow, trouble and triumph. It is a ritual and a rhythm… of surprise and expectation. You've seen the Mother's Day ad. Several women receive calls, clearly from their grown kids. In each scene, the mom faints dead-away… it's been so long! The point: don't forget. Call mom on her special day. You may have heard of the mom who complained of unwanted weight loss to her grown son. "Are you sick?" he asks. "No," she says, "I've barely eaten in 6 weeks." "Mom, why?" the fellow asks. Mom answers, "…Because my mother taught me never to talk with my mouth full, so I've been waiting for your call." No one binds us quite like mom. FOREMOST, our literal moms, but hardly less those other moms and "momlets". Aunts, sisters, daughters, cousins, grands. All feminine Makers of Mercy, Menders of Minds (teachers). Makers of Merry on rainy days, Monitors of Misbehavior. Models of Modesty, Monuments of Miracles (large and small). Molders of Master-Followers (disciples. Yea, SS teachers!) 'So many, our moms!

Few mother-child ties can teach us like the one between Jesus and his own mom, Mary. The better we understand it the better we can honor it. IN A FLASH, HERE'S THE LESSON. Mother love is love from above! It's worth repeating. Mother love is love from above! Wanna know where you got your instinctive idea and experience of God? Of good? (That's just the word God changed from noun to adjective.) Of Jesus (if you were so privileged). Pretty likely, it was mom! (In all her forms and faces, but your mom's first.) Check it out in the Jesus story and you'll see how it's so with Jesus. Who's the first keeper of Christmas? Mary! "But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart." She's in it for the long haul. Even when she knows it'll hurt. And she knows early on. Baby Jesus presented for blessing. That old saint, Simeon, lets the cat out of the bag, "This child is set for the fall and rising of many, misunderstood and contradicted! (And a sword will thrust through your heart, Mary)." At 12, when Jesus bolts for the Temple, it's Mary who starts the search for him, and she's the one he asks, "So where'd you think I'd be? You know I've got my Father's work to do." Mary nags him late to the wedding, prompts the miracle of water to wine. (She alone knows his time and touch.) When it's goin' bad in the work and "people are talking", Mary corrals the family to go see him and ask, "Are you alright? Don't you need a break? This could be dangerous!" And it's she who receives word Jesus has a larger family (you and I are in it). She hears what he's doing is for them, for us! Mary's at the cross, weeping, wanting to take the pain for him. And Jesus provides for her. (As we think he had since Joseph died… the custom of the time, the covenant of his loving heart.) She loves him like no other. Beginning, middle, end. Just like a mother. Just like GOD. That's the point! Sometimes we ourselves see him on the cross in all his human-ness and ask, "How on earth could he do it?" The earthly answer, "His mamma taught him. That's how. That's why." What a lesson for mothers to learn. And all us children to follow. Why, here is the ultimate keeping of the 5th Commandment, "Honor thy father and mother…with your whole heart and your whole life." Oh, most of us have recited the Apostles' Creed countless times. And the line, "born of the virgin Mary." We make it about how Jesus began. OK. But the original intent, in the face of notions Jesus was somehow not a full, real person, and his suffering not real suffering, was this. "Hey, he had a mother! She was real. He was real. They shared what we share. 'Bonded as we are bound, in the most perfect way. Therefore we can be as they were, do as they did, follow where lead.

The better we understand the better we can follow. Mother love is love from [Where…] above! Oh, follow Jesus. Follow his mom. They both end up on the same cross-strewn hill. (And the same garden gives both victory.) Any mom who's spent a sleepless night with a sick child knows the feeling: I would trade and take the pain. (Ultimately, this is just God's gift at the cross.) Let the rest of Jesus' loved ones run or hide or both. She will be there. Be there. Be there. That is the most love promises. Presence! Full presence! Mary is the example. To be a witness. 'To say, "Your life matters. And this moment. You are not, it is not for nothing. It's for us. You and me. And for all of us together who are children of the same God. Our Father, yes. But also, who would love us like a mother hen, with every chick under wing." (Hmm, didn't Jesus say that?) And see how Jesus receives this gift. 'With perfect obedience to the 5th Commandment. God spends the first 4 on our relationship with him. The fifth is the first about our relation to each other. Here's the word. Honor dad and mom! This is the tie, the test ground of all other bonds. Love's primary laboratory! God says so on Sinai. Jesus enacts it from the cross. When Jesus saw [really saw] his mother, and John with her, he says to her, "Look, he's now your son!" 'And to John, "See; now she's your mother!" And I love the translation that says, "He took her to his own heart." 'Not just his home. To follow Jesus is to will and want and make a caring web. Not just moms for kids, but kids for moms. (And for all.) The lonely lady across from us becomes our mom. The Zim-parents our Jim Gourley's writing us about become ours to lift when they leave their kids at just 34 (dads) and 37 (moms), on average. The urgency of their life becomes urgent to us. You get the idea.

Jesus/Mary. The better we understand it the better we can pass it on.  Blessed be the tie that binds! Since the 2nd ever generation of Christians we've insisted,  "I believe in Jesus Christ, the only son of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary." This tie is about us. And our moms. And our kids. And us all. So in Jesus'/Mary's name, the 5th command and our mom's name, allow me to lift 5 ways to be faithful to them all. First, appreciate "moms" in all their many faces. Treasure every one, your's first! Second, offer a little praise now and again. Third, honor is due. Praise is fleeting; honor is lifelong. A card's nice. Flowers: good. Dinner: better. Best: honor mom by becoming what you were born to be, by God's nature/mom's nurture. Fourth, remember mom. Stay connected (re-membered). Jesus says, "I'm the vine, you the branches." He likely learned the image from Mary. She, source of his earthly strength; he, source of light to the root of her soul. As with them, so with us. Blessed the tie that binds! Appreciate widely, praise easily, honor consistently, remember always. "Yea, Mom!" And in Christ, praise God from whom all blessings flow.

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