Selflessness and Resilience
When I think of mother’s love, two words come to mind. They are selfless and resilient. For me, these two words capture the essence of today’s passage, and what mother’s love is.
First, it is selfless in a sense that a mother’s love is totally (and entirely) for their child – it’s a one-way kind of love. They don’t ask anything of us; they simply love us. We’re the most precious thing in their eyes. It’s not the kind of love that’s negotiable or calculating. It doesn’t depend on what we can do for them. But it is all about us; and as St. Paul said, “it doesn’t insist on its own way.” They will do anything for us—because we are theirs.
There is a KSM YP group that meets on Wednesday evenings. All of the different groups in the church have been going through the Gospel of Mark. One week, our conversation digressed at one point. We started talking about relationships between parents and children, which really had nothing to do with the passage. Things like misunderstandings and generational gaps, they all came up. But at the end, Rev. Chung said something that stuck with me. He said this in Korean, and I tried my best to translate it, but he said something like, “There is no parent in the world who can be selfish when it comes to their child.” (세상에서 자식을 이길 수 있는 부모는 없다.)
It sort of stayed with me, because it reminded me of my own parents, especially my mother. Over the years, we’ve had our many fights and disagreements at times, but at the end of the day, she always let me go my own way and supported me—even when I was wrong. But, I often mistook her patience and kindness for weakness. Looking back, I recognized a certain strength hidden in her selflessness towards me. And that strength, I believe, is resilience. In their selfless love, this resilience is revealed to us. Not in the sense of a willpower per say, but the kind of strength that’s constant and steadfast. No matter what happens, it never fades. It enables them to embrace and persevere through anything. We read this at the end of today’s passage, “It [Love] bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” No matter what, our parents, they’re always bearing, believing, hoping, and enduring all things for us.
Prayer of our Hearts
I see this especially in times of prayer. They say that prayer reveals a person’s heart. Whenever we have our prayer gatherings, sometimes we have parents, our mothers, who ask to pray for their children. In their asking, their heart and love for their children come to the fore. Even after all the disappointments and frustrations, they still wait, believe, and hope for the best. And if there is anyone that never stops praying for us, it’s our parents.
A Reflection of God’s Love
The more I reflect on all this, the more I realize how extraordinary mother’s love is. I mean we all said it today, it’s a special kind of love. It’s the kind of that can’t be fully understood, but is deeply felt when we receive it. It changes us. It reflects what God’s love is like. In the same way, we may never fully comprehend the depths of God’s heart for us. But when we experience God’s love, we feel it to the core – we feel its tenderness and strength. And through our parents, God’s love that always hopes and perseveres for our good is made concrete. Perhaps that’s why St. Paul said love is the greatest of all, because it never ends. It endures and stands the test of time.
And that is the fullness of God’s love for us – love that bears anything and everything for us. Nothing can separate us from it, and God has blessed us with that gift of love in our relationships. Through out relationships we have been shaped by that gift. By God’s love which comes alive in our relationships, we’re able to persevere through any and all circumstances that we face. Not by our own will, but with God’s help.
This Mother’s Day
As Simon mentioned earlier today, in our service, this Mother’s Day is a unique and peculiar one. It’s unfolded in a way that none of us expected. I remember we used to prepare carnations for our mothers prior to the service; and pin them on them. But now we’re on Zoom, celebrating the day together from a distance.
While some of us have the privilege of being with our parents and families, there are those of us who can’t be with our own parents today. Some of our parents are in long-term care facilities or at home, alone and on their own. Simple things like hugging our parents have been made impossible with the social distancing. I saw that in BC, the government recommended that people refrain from hugging their parents on Mother’s Day if they don’t live together in the same place. So, as much as we feel joy and gratitude on a special day like today, we can’t help but also feel somewhat anxious and sad.
But even in this difficult time, we can celebrate our mothers and their love for us, and persevere by the strength which God gives us. So, let us comfort and strengthen each other in love, that’s what we were called to do. That is our hope.
Jesus said, “Whoever does the will of God is my brother and sister and mother.” God’s love binds us together in spirit. Not only are we a spiritual community, but we are a spiritual family. We are deeply connected in our relationships with one another. In fact, we are brothers, sisters, and parents to each other. And through our relationships, we can share and imitate the love that we’ve received.
Let Us Celebrate our Mothers
So let us celebrate and bless all our mothers today. Let us not forget our grandmothers, the expectant mothers, and even those whom we feel like have been mothers to us in this community. Let us remember to show them our appreciation and gratitude. Let us encourage them in this difficult time. Through love, we will experience the extraordinary power that gives us the strength to believe and hope all things. Our hearts will be filled with joy, peace, and gratitude. By the power of God’s love, we will be able to overcome even the distance that separates us in this time. I pray that when we look back on this day, this time next year, we will be able to proclaim God’s enduring love that’s carried us through this time.
Happy Mother’s Day everyone, may the Lord be with you.