Spring is decidedly here, perhaps cool, but gentle and sweet all the same.
We gather this morning as best we can to restore both our sense of commitment as we face the world as it is and inspiration to act in ways large and small that will foster better days for all.
We are more when we are together: wiser, resilient, and more able.
Prelude A Mother’s Prayer by Celine Dion, Anna Kojovic-Frodl, piano & arrangement
Chalice Lighting by Mary Harrington
We come together today in praise and thanksgiving
for the gift of life itself.
Someone gave birth to us and some of us have
All of us have been mothered in our time,
All of us have mothered.
Let our time today be one of recognition –
That we arrive from so many places,
Joy and delight,
Wistfulness and longing and worry,
Unmet needs and unfulfilled dreams,
Loss and sorrow, loss and emptiness,
loss and regret.
All that life is made of, mothers are made of too.
Today we sing the songs of so many,
Mothers who are single parents, foster parents,
mothers who relinquished their young
out of necessity,
Mothers who found their heart in adoption,
Mothers who left their children in a thousand ways,
Mothers who rejoice and mothers who mourn.
We sing the songs of the grandmother, the auntie, the classroom teacher, the
Sunday School teacher, the babysitter, the neighbor with endless cookies and
There is a kind of love we cannot live without.
It is never too late, no matter our age or situation.
We sing a song of gratitude for all the moments
of being known, being cherished, being found.
Come, let us worship, together.
Hymn We Give Thanks, OBUUC Choir
Time for All Ages
Centering Words by Jonalu Johnstone
On this day of honoring mothers, we acknowledge the complexity of the relations in our lives, especially family relations, those most powerful influences. In witness of that power and whatever feelings are awakened in us, let us bring our hearts and minds into focus on the holy and the good. Let us be together in the spirit of prayer and meditation.
Gracious God, May the spirit of love bless all our families, each of us.
Thank you for the mothers who have nurtured our lives and our souls. Thank you for all those who have helped us grow into who we are – whatever their role – grandmother, or stepmother, or foster parent, or even father or uncle or teacher. We recognize and treasure the nurturers in our own lives – past and present, whoever they may be.
Comfort those whose parent or child has died. Loss may feel acute again today as others celebrate. ay grief be muted by the memory of love and the consolation of others.
May those with difficult relationships with their mothers – or with other parents or with their children – find ways to appreciate what has been good and to grow from what has not. May goodness be born from any struggles that exist.
We commit ourselves anew to the continuity of the generations, whether we raise children or have raised them ourselves, or whether we seek other ways to shape the future. May we honor our struggle to offer to all those coming after us the love, the justice, the wisdom, and the guidance that we may be able to give. May the blessings we have been given by previous generations be transmitted again to new generations.
Time of Stillness and Reflection
First Reading by Cheryl Strayed
Every mother has a different story, though we tend to group them together. We like to think that partnered moms have it good and single moms have it rough, but the truth is that we’re a diverse bunch. Some single mothers have lots of child-free time because their kids are regularly in the custody of their fathers. Some seldom get a break. Some partnered mothers split child-care duties with their spouses in egalitarian ways; others might as well be alone. Some mothers of both varieties have parents, siblings, and friends who play active roles in their children’s lives in ways that significantly lighten the load. Others have to pay for every hour another person looks after their kids. Some mothers, single or partnered, can’t afford to pay anyone for anything. Some can and do. Others can and won’t. Some are aided financially by parents, or trust funds, or inheritances; others are entirely on their own. The reality is that, regardless of the circumstances, most moms are alternately blissed out by their love for their children and utterly overwhelmed by the spectacular amount of sacrifice they require.
Second Reading To My Mother by Wendell Berry
I was your rebellious son,
do you remember? Sometimes
I wonder if you do remember,
so complete has your forgiveness been.
So complete has your forgiveness been
I wonder sometimes if it did not
precede my wrong, and I erred,
safe found, within your love,
prepared ahead of me, the way home,
or my bed at night, so that almost
I should forgive you, who perhaps
foresaw the worst that I might do,
and forgave before I could act,
causing me to smile now, looking back,
so see how paltry was my worst,
compared to your forgiveness of it
already given. And this, then,
is the vision of Heaven of which
we have heard, where those who love
each other have forgiven each other,
where, for that, the leaves are green,
the light a music in the air,
and all is unentangled,
and all is undismayed.
Reflection Mother’s Day by Rev. Eric Meter
As part of this congregation’s mission to be of service to our community, we support the work of the local organizations whose work furthers our mission.
This month our partner is the Racine Urban Garden Network. Since 2009, RUGN has provided resources for community gardeners and helped them establish community gardens in their own neighborhood.
RUGN provides access to tools, water, soil, compost, and mulch, and offers garden events and one-on-one advice and assistance so that people in Racine can grow their own healthy food.
Please join me in being as generous as you can. Together, our support will mean a brighter, healthier future for all.
Offertory Music I’ll Stand By You by Crissy Hynde, Tom Kelly & Billy Steinberg, OBUUC Choir
As we prepare to extinguish our chalice and move toward the conclusion of this time of worship and inspiration, let these words by Phillip Randall Giles be our guide:
We lift our hearts in gratitude for the gift of life, and praise the faithfulness of those who went before and set a pattern of excellence:
For parents whose love wrought better than they knew;
For teachers whose faith in us was a blessing beyond measure;
For friends whose uncalculating acceptance remains an evergreen memory;
For those whose challenges have stirred us to new resolve and occasionally new heights –
For all these known to us, and the host of unknowns of whose trust we are the beneficiaries, we raise the ancient toast: L’Chaim! – to life!
May we find in these moments together a blessing of peace and renewal, that we may return to the daily round with the calmness and strength adequate to our need.
extinguish the chalice flame
This morning’s chalice is extinguished, but our connections and faith remain.
After our postlude, our time together will continue with brief announcements, joys and sorrows. We may also go into breakout groups during our coffee hour conversation for a few minutes before we join back together.
A quick and gentle reminder to be brief and succinct in offering your announcements this morning so that we have time to hear from everyone during Joys & Sorrows and to have time for conversation during Coffee Hour.
And now, to close out this worship service, our postlude:
Postlude Por Una Cabeza by Carlos Gabel, Anna Kojovic-Frodl, piano