May 9, 2004 , E5C

“If there is an ordinary miracle…”
Luke 1: 46-56; Revelation 21: 1-6

ne of the most amazing mothers that I remember was fire red headed Mrs. Earnhart, back in my Daddy's church in Carolina . She was at church, as always, on Sunday morning in her ninth month of pregnancy, and was back again the next Sunday, cradling her baby boy in her arms. He was thirty-two before he broke his perfect attendance record, because of surgery, and he would not have missed then if his mother was still in charge. She would have had prayer meeting with him right there in his hospital room.

Sometimes guys wimp out easier when it comes to church things. It's easy to stay at home and read the funnies, or call up a buddy and say, “Hey lets get our guns and go out in the country and shoot at cans on stumps.”

Today we honor mothers who have been through, “...dungeon, fire and sword.” In the South we call them “Steel Magnolias.” We see them every morning in our subdivisions, getting the kids to the bus stop, or hauling them to school. All this after having gotten up at 5:00 A.M. to prepare a hearty breakfast, roust children, supervise showers, check homework, hand out lunch money, and repairing the toaster again. After all of that many moms head to their jobs to get things organized. Some still have to fix the office coffee. Others are in charge of mothering a few hundred late for work part-time full-timers. In today's world it is increasingly true that, “The hand that rules the world rocks the cradle.”

You have heard it said, “If men had to give birth there would seldom be a second child.” As Marilyn's obstetrician remarked after I “assisted” in our Lyn's delivery, “Preacher, it's a miracle every time!” My comment was something like; actually, I was in a delicate condition and can't exactly recall, but I said something theologically similar to, “If there is an ordinary miracle, this is it!” It's ordinary in that we all came into the world kicking and screaming, but it is the miracle of birth because of the extra-ordinary, awesome, wondrous, divine nature of it. Only God could have thought it up! And for sure, knowing now the blessing that our sweet Candi has been, even Dad would have gone through it again; but thankfully I did not have to. “Whew!!”

Now we are not letting Fathers off the hook entirely. We all know that every child needs a strong male and female role model in every home, if possible. However, an increasing number of single parent homes are led by mothers. And on Mother's Day we honor all women everywhere, mothers and potential mothers, who have formed a significant, if not the major, influence for Jesus Christ in our souls. Nearly all of us could stand and say that we are what we are because of the powerful influence toward Christ and his Church that was germinated in us by our mothers.

In today's image from John's Revelation, 21: 3, we hear described, “The holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven is like a beautiful bride prepared for her husband.” It is a vision of Heaven, and the picture is of a bride dressed in white.

After having performed hundreds of weddings, I can say with the authority of unique experience, that every bride has been beautiful! Or, at least a lot better looking than she looked when she and her mother first came to the office to book the date. Makeup and a five-thousand dollar white dress, and a veil, can perform an artistic wonder. The beautiful bride adorned on her day, perhaps another “ordinary miracle.” What if every husband and father would make an effort to make every day that glorious for every wife and daughter? I am sure that the ladies would vote for that.

Women have an extra amount of room in their souls for the Divine. In his first chapter, Dr. Luke records the announcement to young Mary that she would become the Mother of the Messiah. God did not force her; neither did he have to convince her, she readily agreed to cooperate with this miracle of miracles, without understanding. Knowing our souls, the Omniscient Father, just knew that Mary would cooperate: “I am the Lord's servant and I am willing to accept whatever he wants.” (Lk. 1: 38, NLT)

Since women typically outlive men I have stood with many grieving widows beside open graves. Women who have loved their husbands as a part of their own souls sometimes almost feel buried with them. But they are always resilient; stronger than their children, siblings, cousins and friends. They already know what they have to do and know that they can do it. It's another “ordinary miracle” that widows keep on keeping on.

Mary was the only person that was at Jesus' birth and at his death. Mel Gibson captured Mary's grief as she watched her truly divine son tortured in his now famous motion picture. It may have been from his “literary license;” it's not in The Book, but it is plausible. As she watched him fall under the weight of the Cross along The Via Della Rosa, she had a flash back to a time when as a boy he fell while running and skinned his knee. Just as she reached to protect him from the fall, she now reached out to touch his bleeding face. Jesus looked into her eyes, and into our eyes, intensely probing and loving eyes, and said, “Behold I make all things new.” That is actually found in Revelation, our text, verse five. Or, perhaps Mel's Jesuit theological adviser, and verse checker, was thinking of II Corinthians 5: 17 , “…if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see everything has become new.” (NRSV) Since we are conjecturing with Director Gibson, we might stretch out and say that perhaps St. Paul overheard Jesus saying to Mary, “Don't fear, in three days you will see me Resurrected on Easter Sunday!” But we do know for sure that we can still hear Jesus singing in our soul's similar sounds of sweet salvation.

Every Christian mother knows for sure that she will always be a mother to her children in Christ. All mother's children know that if we don't know, we can. So, make your Momma proud, get ready for the bus that will take you home to her when the school bell rings, at the end of the day.

a sermon synopsis by C. Robert Allred, Th.D., Pastor
May 9, 2004 , E5C