Enough for Everyone – Mother’s Day sermon – Easter 7B – John 17:6-11

 

Her name was Julia Ward Howe. She was born in 1819, in New York City. Her parents died when she was very young. She barely even knew her own mother.           She was raised by her aunt and uncle.  Her uncle was known as a bit of a radical.  He saw to it that his niece received a good liberal arts education; something very rare for a young woman of Julia’s day.When she was 21 years old, Julia married Samuel Gridley Howe.Howe had made a name for himself as a reformer who took quite a strong stand against slavery.Samuel often told people that he admired Julia’s ideas, her quick mind, her wit and above all her commitment to causes he supported.But Samuel, like many men of his day, believed that women should not take an active part in the causes of the day, nor should they speak in public.For her part, Julia did her best to respect her husband’s wishes. Julia had six children.Two of her children died when they were very young. In her diaries, Julia describes her life during the early part of her marriage as one of isolation.

In deference to her husband she had no life outside of her home except for Sundays when she attended church.Julia wrote of her husband’s violent outbursts as he attempted to control his wife’s activities. Julia’s only out-let was her writing. She began to gain quite a name for poetry. It is not clear just how she managed to get her poems published, but the success of her poetry led to invitations for Julia to speak at various gatherings. Apparently, Julia had quite a mouth on her. A friend of hers wrote that, “Bright things always came readily to Julia’s lips, and second thoughts often came too late to prevent her words from stinging.”

Samuel resented his wife’s success and after he managed to lose most of Julia’s inheritance from her father, he became more and more violent. Julia raised the issue of divorce, but Samuel threatened  to take the children from her, so instead Julia decided to try to fill her days of confinement to her home by educating herself.  Julia began to study philosophy. In time she even managed to teach herself several languges.Her diaries speak of her husband’s concern that Julia’s attempts at self-education were outrageous for a woman in her position in society.It was not until Julia discovered that Samuel had been unfaithful to her that she was able to negotiate a more active public life for herself. Continue reading

One In God – a sermon for Easter 7C on Mothers’ Day

made of God Julian pastorDawn copyWith readings from Julian of Norwich, Julia Ward Howe and the Gospel according to John 17:20-26, our Mothers’ Day was infused by Sophia! I am indebted to John Shelby Spong’s “The Fourth Gospel: Tales of a Jewish Mystic and John Philip Newell’s “Rebirthing of God: Christianity’s Struggle for New Beginnings” for insights beyond my own imaginings.

Listen to the sermon here

         First Reading             Revelations of Love, by Julian of Norwich

                                                                 Chapter 26:

Again, our Lord showed himself to me, this time more glorious than I had seen him before.  I learned that our soul will never find rest until it comes to the fullness of Christ’s joy.

So Christ said, again and again,

“I AM the one.

I AM the one.

I AM the one most honoured.

I AM the one you love.

I AM the one you enjoy.

I AM the one you serve.

I AM the one you long for.

I AM the one you desire.

I AM the one you yearn for.

I AM the one who is everything.

I AM the one whom the holy church preaches and teaches.

I AM the one who showed myself to you.”

There were so many words, I couldn’t understand them all.  But the joy I had in listening to those words went far beyond anything I could think or desire.  I won’t try to explain them, but, as the grace of God gives you love and understanding, you will know what God means.

Second Reading                The Founder of Mothers’ Day

                                            Julia Ward Howe’s

                                            Mothers’ Day Proclamation   (1870)

 

Arise, then, women of this day!

Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies.

Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause.

Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience.

We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own.

It says, “Disarm, Disarm!”

The sword of murder is not the balance of justice.

Blood does not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession.

As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel.

Let them meet first, as women, to bewail and commemorate the dead.

Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.

SERMON:

When I was just a kid, my mother would ask me a question that would be the beginning of a conversation, a routine of sorts that comes out of my Mom’s own childhood in Northern Ireland. The routine goes something like this. Mom would ask me: “How much do you love me?” and I would answer as I’d been taught to answer: “A big bag of sugar!” To which my Mom would reply, “I love you more, I love you two bags of sugar!” To which I would reply, that I loved my Mom, “Five big bags of sugar!”
Over the years I’ve met lots of people from Belfast who measure love in bags of sugar. As near as I can tell this loving conversation has something to do with sugar’s ability to make all things sweet and the fact that over the generations sugar was in short supply because most people simply couldn’t afford to buy sugar. I’ve also been told that during and after the two World Wars sugar was rationed, so a big bag of sugar was more sugar than most people ever saw. Sugar was a much sought after satisfying treat, that was essential to a happy life, so measuring love in bags of sugar is something that to this day, my great-nieces and nephews still learn from their elders. But these days even children know that sugar isn’t what it used to be. We all know too well the dangers of a big bag of sugar. Sugar in large quantities is bad for us! Loving someone today, often means limiting their sugar intake. I suspect that expressing love in terms of bags of sugar will soon go the way of Ring-around-the-rosie…while children still sing it they have no idea that it is all about the black plague that saw millions of children fall to their death…. Love measured in bags of sugar, like packets full of posey, is a thing of the past…vaguely remembered by only a few. Given a few generations and our ways of expressing things, like language changes over time.
Take for example our way of expressing the Divine, the Source of All that IS and all that Ever Shall be, the names we give to the ONE who is responsible for our Creation, the ONE in whom we live and move and have our being, the ONE we call God, has been known by many names over the centuries. The earliest name for the ONE credited with our Creation is quite simply “El”…”El” is if you will, the generic name for “God” El a word found in both the Ancient Sumerian and Canaanite languages translates as, god. In the ancient manuscripts of what we know call the Hebrew Scriptures, but our parents called the Old Testament, the earliest expression used for the God we were raised to worship is, El Shaddai, which is all too often incorrectly translated into English as God Almighty, but which quite literally translates into english as “breasted one” or the more accurate translation, “She Who Has Breasts”.
Elohim, often incorrectly translated as LORD, is the feminine plural word for “majesty”. El Shekinah, is the Ancient Hebrew expression for the presence of God, which quite literally means, “she who dwells among us”.
Chokhma is another Ancient Hebrew expression which was used to express the feminine spirit of the Divine which was later translated in to Greek as Sophia, we translate as Wisdom.
Ruach is the Ancient Hebrew way of expressing the very essence of God, in the Scriptures it is used in Genesis as the Ruach Elohim, which literally translates as the feminine, majestic “breath, wind, or spirit of God, which we now express as the Holy Spirit.
All these feminine ways of expressing what is meant by the word God, were supplemented with images of God as a mother eagle, a mother bear, a mother hen, a birthing mother, a suckling mother, a comforting mother, a woman in labour, and yes even as a woman looking for her lost coin; all these feminine ways of expressing the very nature of our God, were lost to us for generations. Slowly, we are rediscovering these old ways of understanding the nature of our God who is LOVE. LOVE infinitely sweeter than any old bag of sugar.
So, today as we read the words put into the mouth of Jesus by the anonymous gospel-storyteller that we call John, in which Jesus insists that he and God are ONE, I can’t help wondering about the ways in which this expression has changed over time. Our Gospel text this morning comes from what is commonly called Jesus’ farewell discourse or the High Priestly Prayer. The story-teller we call John puts Jesus in the garden at Gethsemane just before the events that happen on what we call Good Friday.
In this discourse Jesus prays for his followers, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all may be one, as you, Abba, are in me and I in you; I pray that they may be one in us, so that the world may believe that you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me that they may be one, as we are one—I in them, you in me—that they may be made perfect in unity. Then the world will know that you sent me, and that you loved them as you loved me.
That we may be ONE…so often this fervent prayer has been interpreted as a plea for unity.
Listen to what our friend Jack Spong has to say about the all too common ways this discourse has been used by Jesus’ followers: Jack writes: “The “high priestly prayer”..proceeds in three parts. The first is a prayer that Jesus utters for himself, the second is a prayer he prays for the disciples and the third is a prayer that is offered for those throughout history who will believe because of the witness of the disciples. The primary request in this prayer is that unity be achieved among believers. The desired outcome is not ecclesiastical unity,” (that is to say the unity of the church), which is how this prayer has been interpreted by the church. That interpretation, “that usage is always in the service of institutional power. Nor is it content or doctrinal unity, as various councils of the church have so often implied and sought to impose. It is not a unity imposed on any basis from outside the service of any agenda. No, the unity of which this prayer speaks is the oneness of the human with the divine that has been the constant theme of this gospel. It is the unity of the vine with the branches. That unity is found in understanding God, not as an external being, but as the essence of life. John even makes Jesus use the third-person name and title for himself to make his point: Unity comes in knowing “the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” The Word of God comes from God, reveals the meaning of God and returns to God. It is a mystical experience of oneness-not a oneness in which individuality is lost, but a oneness in which individuality is affirmed, security is surrendered and new being is entered.”
What our friend Jack Spong is trying to open us up to is the way in which Jesus followers understood Jesus to be opening humanity up to a new understanding of what it means to be human. A way of being in the world that understands our origins in the ONE, our existence as ONE, and our passage into the ONE. This radical expression of our humanity as being ONE with the divine, or seeing divinity in humanity changes everything. But most importantly, it changes the way in which we relate to God. God is no longer expressed as some far off distant super-natural being, but rather as an intimate, integral, being, in which we live and move and have our being.
I reminded you at the beginning of our worship that today is also the feast day of Julian of Norwich, a 14th century woman who understood this ONEness in the same radical way. Julian of Norwich insisted that we are not just created from afar by a distant Creator. We are born from the very womb of the divine. John Philip Newell writes of Julian: “This is why Julian so loves to refer to God as Mother as well as Father. She sees us as coming forth from the essence of the ONE who is the Source of all things. What does it mean that we are made of God rather than simply by God? In part it means that the wisdom of God is deep within us, deeper than the ignorance of what we have done. It is to say that the creativity of God is deep within us, deeper than any barrenness in our lives or relationships, deeper than any endings in our families or our world. Within us—as a sheer gift of God—is the capacity to bring forth what has never been before, including what has never been imagined before. Above all else, as Julian says, the love-longings of God are at the heart of our being. We and all things have come forth from the ONE. Deep within us are holy, natural longings for oneness, primal sacred drives for union. We may live in tragic exile from these longings, or we may have spent a whole lifetime not knowing how to truly satisfy them, but they are there at the heart of our being, waiting to be born afresh.”
We are not just made by God, we are made of God. Think about it. You and I are made of God. When we begin to see our fellow human beings as ONE with God, this has profound implications for how we relate to one another. For as much as you do unto the least of these you do unto me. Jesus is teaching a whole new way of being in the world. Jesus knew this intimacy, this ONEness with God, and sought to instil the wisdom of this Unity, this divinity that finds expression in humanity, into his followers so that all would know the truth of our ONEness in the unity that finds expression in each of us.
The implications for how we live together are enormous. Bags and bags of sugar could not even begin to sweeten life in the way our ONEness with the LOVE that we call God offers to those who embrace this unity. God is not an external, distant entity; God is a life we enter, a love we share, the ground in which we are rooted. The call of Christ is not into religion, but into a new mystical oneness.
Jack Spong puts it this way: “The good news of the gospel, as John understands it, is not that you—a wretched, miserable, fallen sinner—have been rescued from your fate and saved from your deserved punishment by the invasive power of a supernatural, heroic God who came to your aid. Nowhere does John give credibility to the dreadful, guilt-producing and guis-filled mantra that “Jesus died for my sins.”
There is rather an incredible new insight into the meaning of life. We are not fallen; we are simply incomplete. We do not need to be rescued, but to experience the power of an all-embracing love.
Our call is not to be forgiven or even to be redeemed; it is to step beyond our limits into a new understanding of what it means to be human. It is to move from a status of self-consciousness to a realization that we share in a universal consciousness. John’s rendition of Jesus’ message is that the essence of life is discovered when one is free to give life away, that love is known in the act of loving and that the call of human life is to be all that each of us can be and then to be an agent of empowering others to be all that they can be.” Jack Spong, like Julian before him, like the anonymous gospel-storyteller we call John, see in Jesus the expression of the ONEness of which we are made.
How much do I love you? Well lets just say that once, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child. But when I became an adult, I put the ways of childhood behind me. Where once a bag of sugar, was enough to express my love, now I am beginning to understand that I was not just created by love, I am created of love, a love beyond my ability to imagine, a love in which I live and move and have my being.
The love that we call God, El Shaddai, the breasted one, Elohim, majesty, El Shekenia, She Who Dwells Among us, Sohpia, Wisdom, Mother of us all, Yahweh, I will be who I will be. The I AM, in which I live and move and have my being. And just as, if not more importantly, the I AM in which all humanity lives and moves and has being. The implications of this way of expressing Divinity and understanding humanity are as immense as the LOVE that makes us ONE. Amen.

Mothers’ Day: It’s Time to Put Away the Sappy Sentiments and Turn Over a Few Tables in the Temples of Hallmark!

True Mother Julian of NorwichIn a world where rape remains an weapon of war as whole populations are transformed into refugees, in a nation where the number of aboriginal women murdered soars above a thousand, in communities where mothers continue to struggle to feed, cloth, and house their children, there is no time for sappy sentiments on the day established to call for peace.  Peace can only be achieved through justice and justice for mothers requires action by women and men everywhere.

Preachers have several choices when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel on Mothers’ Day.  We can of course ignore the fact that it is Mothers’ Day. After all Mothers’ Day does not appear on the Church calendar of feasts and commemorations. However, Mothers’ Day is reported to be the third highest attendance day; out numbered only by Easter and Christmas! I suspect that a great many offspring choose the day to placate their mothers. So ignoring the event seems like adding insult to injury to those guilt-ridden offspring who hope that their efforts won’t go unnoticed. Sadly, the presence of the Christmas and Easter crowd, all too often tempts the preacher to resort to sentimentality in order to entertain the infrequent worshippers. The history of the creation of Mothers’ Day ought to compel preachers to resist temptation and find the courage not to compromise. 

Most of us think of Mothers’ Day as a kind of conventional holiday that celebrates traditional family values; the kind of traditional values that encourage women who are mothers to keep on keeping on.  But celebrating the traditional motherhood is definitely not what Mothers’ Day was originally intended for.  The very first Mothers’ Day was intended to be a celebration not just of mothers, but rather it was designed to be a call to action by all women. 

One of the first founders of Mother’s Day was Anna Jarvis back in 1858.  Anna Jarvis gathered women of the Appalachian mountains together in what she called mother’s day work clubs. Where women worked together to eliminate poverty.  When the Civil War came about, the mother’s day work clubs created medical camps.  They were places of nonviolence for men from both sides who were wounded in the war. 

At the end of the Civil War, Anna Jarvis organized the Mother’s Day Friendship Day, which was a call for radical peace.  Anna Jarvis brought together the leaders from the north and the south for a time of reconciliation.  Mother’s Day was originally about reconciliation and peace.

Then along came a  woman named, Julia Ward Howe who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Julia Ward Howe called for women to protest the cruelties of war everywhere and to gather together to call for peace.  She called for a national day of peace for all women.  She issued women’s’ declaration, and from the streets women shouted :

“Arise then women of this day, arise all women who have hearts, say firmly our husbands shall not come to us reeking with the carnage for caresses and applause.  Arise women of peace.” 

Anna Jarvis’ daughter also named Anna Jarvis approached President Wilson and petitioned for a national Mother’s Day.  It was Woodrow Wilson who called for the second Sunday of May to be the national Mother’s Day. Shortly thereafter, n anti-suffragette movement spoke out against the women who were calling for peace.  So instead of being a day for women who were active and present in the world, it became a day to celebrate mothers who stayed at home with the children.

Anna Jarvis the founder of Mother’s Day was so angry with Woodrow Wilson that she filed a law suit, that petitioned the courts to put a stop to Mother’s Day because as the court papers insisted, instead of it being run by women, suddenly Mother’s Day was being run by men in an effort to keep them in the house barefoot and pregnant. 

Sadly, the world was not ready for such strong willed women to shout out loud. And so, Anna Jarvis was arrested at a Mother’s Day celebration and she spent the rest of her life in a sanatorium? 

On mothers’ day we would all do well to remember Julia Ward Howe’s Mothers’ Day Proclamation.  Dated 1870 but sadly it is still so very relevant today:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

To those of you who continue to point out that the Mothers’ Day apostrophe belongs between the r and the s, all I can say is: “Move it!”  Until we can move beyond thoughts about our very own mother to the realization that mothers everywhere are worthy of celebration the vision of peace that this day is designed to call us all toward will remain but a dream. Let this day be about mothers everywhere!!! Moving the apostrophe is but a small reminder that the holiday does not belong to any individual mother but to mothers every where!!! Let peace break out this Mothers’ Day!!!

For additional resources for the celebration of MOTHERS’ DAY click here to listen to a MOTHERS’ DAY sermon click  here

SHE Who Dwells Among Us – a Mothers’ Day Sermon

Womb-like God

Mothers’ Day Readings which include the Mothers’ Day Proclamation  here

Listen to the sermon here

Worship Bulletin here

Preaching on Mothers’ Day – Don’t Compromise!

True Mother Julian of NorwichPreachers have several choices when it comes to proclaiming the Gospel on Mothers’ Day.  We can of course ignore the fact that it is Mothers’ Day. After all Mothers’ Day does not appear on the Church calendar of feasts and commemorations. However, Mothers’ Day is reported to be the third highest attendance day; out numbered only by Easter and Christmas! I suspect that a great many offspring choose the day to placate their mothers. So ignoring the event seems like adding insult to injury to those guilt-ridden offspring who hope that their efforts won’t go unnoticed. Sadly, the presence of the Christmas and Easter crowd, all too often tempts the preacher to resort to sentimentality in order to entertain the infrequent worshippers. The history of the creation of Mothers’ Day ought to compel preachers to resist temptation and find the courage not to compromise. 

Most of us think of Mothers’ Day as a kind of conventional holiday that celebrates traditional family values; the kind of traditional values that encourage women who are mothers to keep on keeping on.  But celebrating the traditional motherhood is definitely not what Mothers’ Day was originally intended for.  The very first Mothers’ Day was intended to be a celebration not just of mothers, but rather it was designed to be a call to action by all women. 

One of the first founders of Mother’s Day was Anna Jarvis back in 1858.  Anna Jarvis gathered women of the Appalachian mountains together in what she called mother’s day work clubs. Where women worked together to eliminate poverty.  When the Civil War came about, the mother’s day work clubs created medical camps.  They were places of nonviolence for men from both sides who were wounded in the war. 

At the end of the Civil War, Anna Jarvis organized the Mother’s Day Friendship Day, which was a call for radical peace.  Anna Jarvis brought together the leaders from the north and the south for a time of reconciliation.  Mother’s Day was originally about reconciliation and peace.

Then along came a  woman named, Julia Ward Howe who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Julia Ward Howe called for women to protest the cruelties of war everywhere and to gather together to call for peace.  She called for a national day of peace for all women.  She issued women’s’ declaration, and from the streets women shouted :

“Arise then women of this day, arise all women who have hearts, say firmly our husbands shall not come to us reeking with the carnage for caresses and applause.  Arise women of peace.” 

Anna Jarvis’ daughter also named Anna Jarvis approached President Wilson and petitioned for a national Mother’s Day.  It was Woodrow Wilson who called for the second Sunday of May to be the national Mother’s Day. Shortly thereafter, n anti-suffragette movement spoke out against the women who were calling for peace.  So instead of being a day for women who were active and present in the world, it became a day to celebrate mothers who stayed at home with the children.

Anna Jarvis the founder of Mother’s Day was so angry with Woodrow Wilson that she filed a law suit, that petitioned the courts to put a stop to Mother’s Day because as the court papers insisted, instead of it being run by women, suddenly Mother’s Day was being run by men in an effort to keep them in the house barefoot and pregnant. 

Sadly, the world was not ready for such strong willed women to shout out loud. And so, Anna Jarvis was arrested at a Mother’s Day celebration and she spent the rest of her life in a sanatorium? 

On mothers’ day we would all do well to remember Julia Ward Howe’s Mothers’ Day Proclamation.  Dated 1870 but sadly it is still so very relevant today:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”

MOTHERS’ DAY – Peace is the Way

Most of us think of Mothers’ Day as a kind of conventional holiday that celebrates traditional family values; the kind of traditional values that encourage women who are mothers to keep on keeping on.  But celebrating the traditional motherhood is definitely not what Mothers’ Day was originally intended for.  The very first Mothers’ Day was intended to be a celebration not just of mothers, but rather it was designed to be a call to action by all women. 

One of the first founders of Mother’s Day was Anna Jarvis back in 1858.  Anna Jarvis gathered women of the Appalachian mountains together in what she called mother’s day work clubs. Where women worked together to eliminate poverty.  When the Civil War came about, the mother’s day work clubs created medical camps.  They were places of nonviolence for men from both sides who were wounded in the war. 

At the end of the Civil War, Anna Jarvis organized the Mother’s Day Friendship Day, which was a call for radical peace.  Anna Jarvis brought together the leaders from the north and the south for a time of reconciliation.  Mother’s Day was originally about reconciliation and peace.

Then along came a  woman named, Julia Ward Howe who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. Julia Ward Howe called for women to protest the cruelties of war everywhere and to gather together to call for peace.  She called for a national day of peace for all women.  She issued women’s’ declaration, and from the streets women shouted :

“Arise then women of this day, arise all women who have hearts, say firmly our husbands shall not come to us reeking with the carnage for caresses and applause.  Arise women of peace.” 

Anna Jarvis’ daughter also named Anna Jarvis approached President Wilson and petitioned for a national Mother’s Day.  It was Woodrow Wilson who called for the second Sunday of May to be the national Mother’s Day. Shortly thereafter, n anti-suffragette movement spoke out against the women who were calling for peace.  So instead of being a day for women who were active and present in the world, it became a day to celebrate mothers who stayed at home with the children.

Anna Jarvis the founder of Mother’s Day was so angry with Woodrow Wilson that she filed a law suit, that petitioned the courts to put a stop to Mother’s Day because as the court papers insisted, instead of it being run by women, suddenly Mother’s Day was being run by men in an effort to keep them in the house barefoot and pregnant. 

Sadly, the world was not ready for such strong willed women to shout out loud. And so, Anna Jarvis was arrested at a Mother’s Day celebration and she spent the rest of her life in a sanatorium? 

On mothers’ day we would all do well to remember Julia Ward Howe’s Mothers’ Day Proclamation.  Dated 1870 but sadly it is still so very relevant today:

Arise, then, women of this day! Arise, all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be that of water or tears!

Say firmly: “We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us, reeking with carnage, for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have taught them of charity, mercy and patience. We women of one country will be too tender of those of another to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs.”

From the bosom of the devastated earth, a voice goes up with our own. It says, “Disarm, Disarm!” The sword of murder is not the balance of justice. Blood not wipe out dishonor, nor violence indicate possession. As men have often forsaken the plow and the anvil at the summons of war, let women now leave all that may be left of home for a great and earnest day of counsel. Let them meet first, as women, to bewail & commemorate the dead. Let them solemnly take counsel with each other as to the means whereby the great human family can live in peace, each bearing after his own time the sacred impress, not of Caesars but of God.

In the name of womanhood and of humanity, I earnestly ask that a general congress of women without limit of nationality may be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient and at the earliest period consistent with its objects, to promote the alliance of the different nationalities, the amicable settlement of international questions, the great and general interests of peace.”