Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Mother's Day

The chair of the Pensacola Area Episcopal Peace Fellowship Chapter - Bill Sloan - offers this insert he created for churches to use in their Mother's Day bulletins:

A Mother's Day Proclamation

Julia Ward Howe, author of the Battle Hymn of the Republic and mother of five, was a strident activist against slavery and for the rights of women, battling alongside Susan B Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton for the right to vote. Her Appeal to womanhood throughout the world, 1870, later called her Mother's Day Proclamation, was her reaction to the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. If we take Howe's vision into account, we are more likely to read the Battle Hymn as a manifesto to reject violence than to crush the South - to see that God is trampling out the grapes of anger and vengeance before they can ferment into something intoxicating. If you have been aroused by the Battle Hymn - who hasn't? -- you have to take her Appeal to Womanhood seriously indeed.

Appeal to womanhood throughout the world

"In the sight of the Christian world, great nations have exhausted themselves in mutual murder. Again have the sacred questions of international justice been committed to the fatal mediation of military weapons. Arise then, women of this day! Arise all women who have hearts, whether your baptism be of water or of tears! Say firmly: We will not have questions decided by irrelevant agencies. Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage for caresses and applause. Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn all that we have been able to teach them of charity, mercy, and patience. We women of one country will be too tender to those of another country to allow our sons to be trained to injure theirs."

On Mother's Day 2015 let us give thanks and praise God for the life of Julia Ward Howe and let us pray for all mothers:

Loving God, on this day
we thank you for the love of our mothers and those who have given us motherly care,
all who have nurtured our souls and blessed our lives.
We pray for those mothers in our world today where war or famine,
violence or illness have hindered their care for children.
We ask you to bless them with your own special love.
May we see your loving Spirit within all mothers and help us to live our lives in peace.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, who was loved by his mother Mary.  Amen.
Mothering Sunday by Malcolm Guite

At last, in spite of all, a recognition,
For those who loved and laboured for so long,
Who brought us, through that labour, to fruition
To flourish in the place where we belong.
A thanks to those who stayed and did the raising,
Who buckled down and did the work of two,
Whom governments have mocked instead of praising,
Who hid their heart-break and still struggled through,
The single mothers forced onto the edge
Whose work the world has overlooked, neglected,
Invisible to wealth and privilege,
But in whose lives the kingdom is reflected.
Now into Christ our mother church we bring them,
Who shares with them the birth-pangs of His Kingdom.

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