The "motherly element" in our life of faith — a word of thanks

Mother's Day is not only a celebration in which we honour our mothers as individuals. It is also an opportunity to pay tribute to motherhood itself. Where is the "motherly element" in our life of faith? As we celebrate this day, a special author—none other than retired Chief Apostle Wilhelm Leber—explores this very topic.

On Mother's Day we honour our mothers. We thank them for their loving care and for the countless times they have lent us a helping hand. But we also acknowledge all the little gestures and acts of love which are often only noticed in passing in the daily routine.

At this point, however, I would like to direct our attention to a special "family", namely the congregation. Here too there is a "motherly element". Many brothers and sisters lovingly engage themselves in the congregation and see to it that each and every one feels accepted.

I am also thinking of my own congregation, a very "normal" congregation with its own strengths and weaknesses. Now that I am retired, I have more time to observe, and in the process I notice many good things. And I would like to take a moment to consciously express gratitude for all these helping hands and little services of love. There are brothers and sisters who

  • take care of the outward order of the church and see to it that everything is clean and attractively decorated — thank you for this!
  • provide for our physical wellbeing. After the divine service we often spend a little time together over coffee and pastries. There is also plenty to eat and drink at our seniors' gatherings. Everything is always taken care of — thank you for this!
  • take care of other members and guests, approach them gently, and involve them in our fellowship — thank you for this!
  • share their ideas, provide suggestions, and organize fellowship activities — thank you for this!
  • help set the mood for the divine services with their musical performances — thank you for this!
  • visit the sick and elderly — thank you for this!

I would also like to take a moment to pay tribute to those sisters who play such a defining role in congregational life. They are so practically minded, have a good eye for what is needed, and are always willing to help — thank you for this!

And what about the ministers? Their service is likewise "motherly". Apostle Paul states: "But we were gentle among you [and] were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us" (excerpt from 1 Thessalonians 2: 7-8) — thank you for this!

Perhaps one or the other reader will now say: "The picture you are painting here is much too bright. After all, there are also many shortcomings in the congregation." It is not my intent to deny that, but I maintain that this "motherly element" exists everywhere, even if it is perhaps manifested in different forms and to varying degrees. And if it does happen to be a little underrepresented, then let us get involved such that it may shine forth all the more clearly!

The "motherly element" is enduring. We will even find it again in the world to come. I conclude this from the words of Apostle Paul in Galatians 4: 26: "But the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all." I am grateful for all of these "motherly" gifts!

Photo: Oliver Rütten

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Wilhelm Leber
09.05.2015
Mother's Day