(Sunday, May 8, 2016)
Genesis 18:1-5, 9-15 A Son Promised to Abraham and Sarah
The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre, as he sat at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day. He looked up and saw three men standing near him. When he saw them, he ran from the tent entrance to meet them, and bowed down to the ground. He said, ‘My lord, if I find favor with you, do not pass by your servant. Let a little water be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the tree. Let me bring a little bread, that you may refresh yourselves, and after that you may pass on—since you have come to your servant.’ So they said, ‘Do as you have said.’…
(then) They said to him, ‘Where is your wife Sarah?’ And he said, ‘There, in the tent.’ Then one said, ‘I will surely return to you in due season, and your wife Sarah shall have a son.’ And Sarah was listening at the tent entrance behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, advanced in age; it had ceased to be with Sarah after the manner of women. So Sarah laughed to herself, saying, ‘After I have grown old, and my husband is old, shall I have pleasure?’ The Lord said to Abraham, ‘Why did Sarah laugh, and say, “Shall I indeed bear a child, now that I am old?” Is anything too wonderful for the Lord? At the set time I will return to you, in due season, and Sarah shall have a son.’ But Sarah denied, saying, ‘I did not laugh’; for she was afraid. He said, ‘Oh yes, you did laugh.’
Sarah from Searching for Shalom by Ann Weems
Last night I laughed. I know who I am. I am old and my periods have stopped. My womb is shriveled within me. I know who I am and so I laughed. Abraham laughed, too. He is old and he knows I am old. Abraham laughed, but later I found him outside counting the stars to see how many descendants we were going to have. I know who I am, but, more important, I know who God is.
God is the one who is with me, even in the darkness and despair of my life. God is the one who changes what cannot be changed. I will feel life in my belly after all. I will give Abraham a child in his old age. God is good. I go now to count the stars.
A Prayer in Celebration of Childbirth by Cynthia Hovath Garbutt
Dearest God in Heaven,
With awe and wonder,
I look down upon this tiny face tonight.
It is snowing.
It is two o’clock in the morning,
and this breathing miracle at my breast
suckles with raptured contentment.
Pure magic, pure joy, pure love,
A living testament of your divine existence.
In my heart,
in the deepest part of my soul,
I give thanks to you,
now and always,
for this most sacred gift.
Let me lovingly nurture my cild,
whom you have graciously lent to me,
as you lovingly nurture me.
Grant me wisdom, especially when I am tired.
And grant me laughter, especially when I am tested.
Thank you, O Lord, for entrusting me
with your Creation and for making me
a mother. Amen
Exodus 2:1-10 Birth and Youth of Moses
Now a man from the house of Levi went and married a Levite woman. The woman conceived and bore a son; and when she saw that he was a fine baby, she hid him for three months. When she could hide him no longer she got a papyrus basket for him, and plastered it with bitumen and pitch; she put the child in it and placed it among the reeds on the bank of the river. His sister stood at a distance, to see what would happen to him.
The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe at the river, while her attendants walked beside the river. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her maid to bring it. When she opened it, she saw the child. He was crying, and she took pity on him. ‘This must be one of the Hebrews’ children,’ she said. Then his sister said to Pharaoh’s daughter, ‘Shall I go and get you a nurse from the Hebrew women to nurse the child for you?’ Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Yes.’ So the girl went and called the child’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, ‘Take this child and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.’ So the woman took the child and nursed it. When the child grew up, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, and she took him as her son. She named him Moses, ‘because’, she said, ‘I drew him out of the water.’
Moses Remembering his Mother by Rev. Canon Gwendolyn - Jane Romeril
In this still place
wreathed in early
morning mist, I
for what I remember
and what I do not
remember still haunts
Mother, you elude me --
your face, your color,
your frame, your
Your sorrow matches
my sorrow; your
longing matches my
I have gratitude
that you gave me
life and placed me in
I see now that your
letting me go freed me
to become — to live into
The cord you cut that day
was visible and shed
real blood, yet we are
still bound by the invisible
Many of these cords
I have cut
by diligence and by
I go on doing my
work — discovering the
truth, embracing it,
accepting what was,
I pray, and do my
priestly things, covering
the past with a
blanket of redemptive
Dawn breaks and a
new day begins.
Grace of Adoption by Charlene Tiffany Higbe
A teardrop as large as the world
suspended midair between mother and child;
joining with others and falling on the sleeping baby,
sealing with crystal clarity the blessing of child by mother--
signifying heart-wrenching choices.
Cradled in her mother’s arms,
with family and friends cradled in God’s presence;
giving and receiving.
God’s ever-present and unquestioning grace revealed
in the wonder and miracle of new life.
Courage to bring this beautiful child to her new parents,
to be enfolded by them
and to entrust her to their care and keeping.
Tears, laugher, caring, hope, sadness, trust, acceptance:
Luke 2:41-52 Young Jesus in the Temple
Now every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up as usual for the festival. When the festival was ended and they started to return, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but his parents did not know it. Assuming that he was in the group of travelers, they went a day’s journey. Then they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. When his parents saw him they were astonished; and his mother said to him, ‘Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety.’ He said to them, ‘Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?’ But they did not understand what he said to them. Then he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them. His mother treasured all these things in her heart.
And Jesus increased in wisdom and in years, and in divine and human favor.
Lost and Found by Rev. Susan Brecht
We stopped to rest after a long days’ journey
families gathering to prepare their meal
we had just assumed - mistakenly - you were with your cousins
but when you didn’t come to find us …
We started to search
Carol: “No, we haven’t seen him.
Jen: “He’s not with us.”
a sinking feeling
panic setting in
my heart pounding in my head
we’re not bad parents
we didn’t just walk off and leave him
what will people think?
Frantic, we decided to retrace our steps
back to Jerusalem
searching that crowded city
How could I live with myself is anything happened to you?
flesh of my flesh
blood of my blood
Then word of a young boy
sitting among the teachers in the temple
filled with knowledge beyond his years
could it be?
tinged with anger
must mostly relief
you were safe.
But why didn’t you tell us?
we’re your parents
we’re responsible for you
You’re father’s house?
Your home is with us in Nazareth.
I know, someday I will have to let you go
be your own person
but not yet
I’m not ready to let you go yet
a second cord has been severed.
Who is this child of ours?
A Prayer for Bronte by Rev. Raewynne J. Whiteley
Thank you, O God, for the wonder of this child:
for the stillness of her listening
as the words of God are spoken
for the confusion in her voice
as she tries to understand
why they would want to kill Jesus
for the energy of her hug
as we speak the words of peace
for the sureness at the altar rail
as she tells me just how much
God loves us
for the shining in her eyes
as she reaches out her hands
for bread and wine.
Embrace her, O God; protect her
from people who would tell her
what to believe
and how to live.
Keep her wondering and questioning,
and listening for the call of your voice.
John 19:25b-30 Jesus’ goodbye to his mother
… standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.
After this, when Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the scripture), ‘I am thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was standing there. So they put a sponge full of the wine on a branch of hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
A Mother’s Prayer by Joanne B. Galbraith
Hail, Mary, full of grace.
Pray for me, now, in the time of my grief.
You had a son. You lost a son — in the prime of his life.
Were your tears bitter, reflecting the injustice?
Were your tears a torrent, reflecting the anguish?
Were your tears hot, reflecting your anger?
Did your soul become barren in the salty river?
Did your faith grow dark, extinguished in tears?
Did your love shrivel as your tears dried?
Did you withdraw to nurse a wounded heart?
Did you curse and shake your fist at God?
Did you retreat into the past grasping at memories?
(the feel of a baby, new in your arms
the smell of a boy, sweaty from play
the sound of a teen, raucous and gay
the look of a man, who is ever your baby)
Did your weeping stop?
Did you live again?
Did you love again?
Did you believe again?
O Mary, full of grace.
Pray for me, now, in the time of my grief.
The Gift of My Children by Patricia D. Alwardt
O Heavenly Father, Thank you for the gift of my children.
Thank you for being with me as we taught them.
Thank you for being with them while they explored their big
Thank you for taking care of them when I was busy, angry,
Thank you for loving us so much that you gave your own Son,
Christ Jesus, for our salvation.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be their mother.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to enjoy their
childhood and now their adulthood.
And Heavenly Father, I leave them in your care now that they are
on their own, and I trust that you will be with them through
the hard and easy times.
I ask for them love, peace, and your grace that you will let
them know that you are with them. Amen