My Mother's Arms
By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.
Even though it was forty years ago, I can see my mother standing at the door which led to the garage, car keys in hand. My family had just moved and there were still boxes to unpack in our new home. On that summer Sunday morning, she suddenly announced she was going to church. I was surprised. We’d been to church in our former hometown, but it had never seemed like an important thing. On this day, however, it seemed the only important thing.
It caught my attention. “Can I go with you?”
“Hurry up,” I heard her say.
I’m so glad I did. By the end of worship, we both knew we’d be back. We rarely missed any Sunday after that. This church became for both of us a community of deep belonging and deep purpose, a place where we found our sustenance and our service. In time, my mom led Bible studies and served on church council. She chaired the search committee for their current pastor. I went to church school and youth group, traveled on my first service projects and preached my first sermons. This church made me a Christian and then called me to ordained ministry.
Eight years ago, my mom moved to another community and congregation, but ties to this first church remain. In a couple of weeks, my family will return to them for a memorial service to celebrate my mom’s life, to gather with friends who still mean so much to us, and to commend my mother to God’s eternal care. I know I will also be giving thanks for my mother’s faith, and the ways it has shaped my own.
I have learned what we all know. We step out, never knowing how our decisions will change us or others, but when they are made with faith, chances are good that things will unfold in ways that give life.
Prayer: Now thank we all, our God, with heart and hands and voices, who wondrous things has done, in whom his world rejoices; who from our mothers' arms has blessed us on our way with countless gifts of love, and still is ours today. Amen.