“As a Mother Comforts”
Dear Members and Friends of our ELS:
It can be argued that one of the most endearing pictures, universally acknowledged in every culture, is that of a mother cuddling and coddling her newborn child. Who does not feel a true sense of joy and happiness at the sight? Who does not envision how the love of a mother emanates for her baby in her arms? Each of us likes to have this picture of such maternal tenderness in mind when thinking of his/her own early days and the daily care provided by dear Mom.
Mother’s Day is signiﬁcant to reﬂect on the blessings that God has provided for us in the gift of mothers, especially Christian mothers. We have much to be thankful for as we consider the time, energy, and copious attention moms have given in order to sustain us and get us on our way. Then, too, the attention to what counts most – our spiritual development – is reason above all to express our gratitude. From the rebirth at the font, mothers have played a key role in teaching their children how to pray, in reading Bible stories, in answering big questions of life for curious minds, and in urging a healthy church life. No wonder Luther says in his Large Catechism (cf. 4th Commandment): “To fatherhood and motherhood God has given the special distinction, above all estates that are beneath it, that he commands not simply to love our parents but also to honor them… that we respect them very highly and that next to God we give them the very highest place.”
Sadly, motherhood is not honored by all. How tragic it is to hear voices encouraging a would-be mother to abort the child she bears! How barbaric it is that a state governor has signed into law the authorization to murder unborn babies up to the point of birth for any reason, and another governor has even embraced infanticide – intentionally killing a baby after its birth! Our prayers must rise to God’s throne, asking Him to cause these gruesome attacks on the children of our land to cease and imploring Him to restore our nation to respect human life and hold motherhood in high esteem.
As we think about the sins of our nation, as we think about sins of failed motherhood/fatherhood, and as we think about our own personal sins, how eternally joyful we are that God, for the sake of His Son, has blotted out all of our transgressions. In fact, using the picture of the loving mother with her child in her arms, our great God declares: “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands…” (Isaiah 49:15-16). Again, he says: “As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” (Isaiah 66:13).
Rev. John A. Moldstad, ELS President