Preparing for Worship: May 11, 2014
This weekend we celebrate Mother’s Day, and while Sunday is rightly a time of thanksgiving for all mothers, I wonder if we would together consider it also as a time of lament for those who long to be mothers but feel the pain of childlessness and loneliness. These emotions are very biblical, which we see in the narratives of Sarah, Rachel, Hannah, Elizabeth, and others. Many churches too often miss the aspect of lament in their services, and Mother’s Day seems to me to be a good occasion for reflection. Years ago I came across a prayer by Nathan Bierma written with this purpose of lament in mind, which I think is helpful to read this time of year. The section in italics is given as an introduction to the prayer:
We recognize on a day like today that everything in God’s creation isn’t as it should be. Sin has broken families and caused deep pain and heartache, and suffering in creation has led to suffering in the flesh—some who long to be parents are unable to experience that joy. Let’s pray together, knowing that God hears us in our pain and sadness:
Lord, on this Mother’s Day
we lift up the aching hearts
of all those who long to be mothers,
but mourn the absence of new life within them;
who have conceived,
but suffered loss through miscarriage or abortion;
who have given birth,
but endured the tragedy of burying a child.
Their grief is often hidden from us
or neglected on this day of celebration of motherhood.
We pray that they may experience healing in this church family.
How long, O Lord, must death get its way at the outset of new life?
How long must joy be deferred or interrupted by such cruel sorrow?
Risen Lord of life, grant them comfort and peace,
breathe in us all the breath of new life.
Through Jesus Christ,
who defeated death,
Take comfort that our God is “near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit” (Ps 34:18).
- Come Thou Almighty King
- God Undefeatable
- Come Praise and Glorify
- Behold Our God
- Your Great Name
Pastor for Worship