Sixth Sunday of Easter – Mother’s Day
Seed Time and Harvest – You and My Mom
Scripture: Galatians 6:9
- May 9, 2021, Sixth Sunday of Easter
- A Time for Centering: Festival Prelude on Coronation, “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name,” Arr. by Elizabeth A. Krouse; Pauline Olsen, organ
- Hymn 92: “For the Beauty of the Earth,” by Folliot S. Pierpoint; Becky Morgan and Randy Grubbs, hymn leaders
- Hymn 643: “When Love Is Found,” by Brian Wren; Becky Morgan and Randy Grubbs, hymn leaders
- Special Music: “My Lord, What a Morning,” Traditional Spiritual, Arr. by Mark Hayes; Carlos Xavier, Flute; Donna Grubbs, piano
- Scripture: Galatians 6:9; Margaret Cox
- Sermon: “Seed Time and Harvest: You and My Mom,” Pastor Brad Beeman
- Hymn 2226 “Bind Us Together,” by Bob Gillman; Becky Morgan and Randy Grubbs, hymn leaders
- “Sing a New Song,” by Daniel L. Schutte; Pauline Olsen, organ
We begin a new series today. I’m calling it “Seed Time and Harvest.” It seems appropriate to begin the series on Mother’s Day.
Think about it, we call nature “Mother,” and we reference the earth as our mother. Many native tribes considered the earth to be the mother of all things. Even the Romans and Greeks taught that it was the “mother” who did the creating in their mythology. There are obvious reasons for all of that, things related to birth and life, balance, and growth. Each culture also talked about the fierce loyalty the mother figure has for her young. We’ll get into that more later on, but for this morning the series will walk us through various aspects of nature, of birth and life; of tilling and planting, of protecting what we’ve been given, of how the grains and fruits come together for our communion, and what can come from both. We’ll explore planting and caring for what we plant, and yes, I’ll even offer up an examination of weeds and what we are to do with them.
I’m hoping that it will all culminate on July 4, as we have an all-church picnic and worship outdoors surrounded by the nature we’ve been exploring. In the midst of it all, we also need to schedule a time for the blessing and dedication of the new altar and pulpit. All in all, it’s going to be fun, upbeat, and have some creative elements along the way.
But let’s begin with today, Mother’s Day, and the celebration of mothers. But maybe “celebration” is not the right word. We can’t celebrate all mothers, and my family is the perfect example of why. I’ll honor my mother a bit today, with the realization and understanding that she dealt with one of those mothers who it would make it hard to celebrate or honor. My mom chose a different path. Here’s why I honor my mom today.
I grew up with a mom who, unlike her mom, felt that her children were a priority. We would have evening story times as we lay atop her beautiful white, chenille bedspread. I can still see the pattern and feel what it felt like as we cuddled in close to listen. It was heavenly. My mom believed that healthy children had dirty hands. It was part of being a child. It was a natural, wonderful, healthy approach to life. Sure, we washed our hands before meals, but that magical feeling of dirt has never left us. It’s why each of us still gardens and builds, and wander in the outdoors. We still get our hands dirty even metaphorically speaking, particularly in things that will create positive change in the world. Finally, my mom embraced, hugged, cuddled us, and never apologized for it. Her embraces were and still are warm and loving, real and sincere. I’ve always appreciated that about my mom, particularly knowing that not every mom was like that. Hers certainly wasn’t.
Today is always a challenge for preachers. Sure, we can celebrate moms but not all moms should be celebrated. As I said, my grandmother; my mom’s mom, was one who was recognized more for the abuses she meted out to her daughters than for any kind of love she offered. She was mean and judgmental and never had anything nice to say about anyone or anything; particularly anyone or anything male. She hated the Beeman men, and it’s the word she used, even when the Beeman men were mere boys.
She was, in her older days, given everything she could have ever wanted or needed by my parents – a free place to live for one. It was a small cottage at the top of the beachfront property with one of the most beautiful views of Puget Sound you could ever imagine. When she needed a ride, she got one. When she needed company, as painful as it was to sit with her, we provided company. No matter the need, we were there to provide it, in spite of her anger and spite, her terrible words of judgment, or knowing the abuses she dealt out to my mom throughout her growing up years. Why? Because it was what my mom, our mom, asked of us; to be for my grandmother what my grandmother never was for her two daughters.
So, on this Mother’s Day, it’s hard not to remember both. And yes, it all reminds me of what we’re called to do and be on days like and places like this; a place where both kinds of moms need to be welcomed, loved, encouraged, embraced, and potentially transformed because of the grace-filled kindness we seek to offer. I share that to share this.
I had a heart attack on March 20. It was serious, very serious. I crashed, in medical terms, three times: once at the house, another in the ambulance, and another time on the operating table. But I lived. The recovery has been long and hard, and not for the reasons you may think. And it’s certainly not over. I know neither Dorothy nor I have shared much about the whole incident, but let me just say it was one of the most difficult times we’ve ever dealt with. There were the events of the day on March 20th, events I don’t ever want to relive. There was then being totally separated from each other once I left in the ambulance. I was not able to see her again until almost 30 hours had passed, and only then because I was in ICU.
What I didn’t expect was, once I left the hospital, the depth of emotions that continually bubbled up, often in overwhelming ways. They still do, and you may see some of that before I get done this morning. I’m just so grateful to be alive and even more grateful to be able to be back here at Trinity with you. My heart is fine. It really is.
But I continue to be surprised at how deeply my filters have shifted and changed. I’ve confronted people and things in ways I have never done before. I think facing death kind of does that. Life becomes that much shorter, and I realize I don’t care to deal with the (insert whatever word that works for you here) any longer. Life is too short. My DS will be the first to tell you about that. The side effects of the meds are not for the faint of heart. I decided to stop taking one simply because it didn’t allow me to recover in ways that I knew I needed, like physical work outdoors. The muscle aches, or myalgia as they call it, were so intense that I would be debilitated for days after exerting any kind of stress on muscles. The pain was just so severe. There are other pieces that I’m still dealing with, but they will continue to get better. So, some of the challenges continue, but we’ve come a long way in this past month and a half, partially because we’ve chosen to keep living, fully embracing life, and I have to say, partially because of you.
You, Trinity United Methodist Church, and even the greater Sequim community, have gone so far above and beyond that I will never be able to say thank you enough. Let me put it this way; throughout this time, you became everything anyone could possibly hope for in a mom; at least the kind of mom I grew up with.
Here’s what I mean. The chenille bedspread of my childhood became a quilt covered in hearts and signed by so many of you. The hugs I would receive, hugs that were so warm, so gentle and so loving, were represented in the prayer shawl that sits on my recliner at home.
The dirty hands that were accepted in my house as a child, you took on so much of what was needed while I was away. We dealt with some challenges, really difficult challenges, and yet you were so ready to step in and face them with the kind of love and integrity that healthy followers of Jesus offer.
Like the reasons we call nature our mother, you birthed things in me, nurtured things that allowed me so much more than I could have ever asked or imagined. Your love, your grace, your acceptance, your gifts, your cards and letters, the quilt, the shawl, the work you continued to do in the parking lot, the grace you offered each other, the care you’ve taken of this remarkable facility, the engagement with the community have each played a part.
So, here’s my final Mother’s Day thought.
We’ve talked at length about radical hospitality. It’s why I walked the parking lot and lines of cars with coffee each day. As simple as that act was, it came from my understanding of you. I’m not sure I would have thought of it had it not been for that being one of the major priorities of this church. Small acts of kindness change attitudes. A cup of coffee may not change a life, but here’s what it will do. One of the most powerful messages I received was from someone whose cup I refilled. The couple came back with this message.“Pastor Brad, I guess now it’s our turn to fill and refill your cup.” I mean, wow. It’s what we should be doing with each other, all the time…all the time, no matter which kind of father or mother or sibling or neighbor we find in front of us. But there is also a void in need of filling. There are no more vaccinations, no more partnership with the S’Klallam Tribe, or the CERT volunteers, and only two more months of the food distribution. There is no more coffee to be served to people waiting in their cars, and no more arriving at 6:30 to begin the staging of the cars. That leaves a void.
So, today, as I bring this to a close, I want to encourage each of us to prayerfully explore how we’re going to fill that void. We made a difference in this community and it would be all too easy to sit back and accept the accolades for that work. But that’s not who or what we are. So, what’s next? Do we begin to explore community dinners again? Do we make sure Tim’s Place has everything they need to resume? Do we encourage Pauline and Lois’ Legacy to expand what they’re already doing? Or how about community concerts, or speakers, or forums? What I’ve found is that even in the midst of one of the most challenging pandemics any of us has ever lived through, the heart of this church came through. And that heart is much like my mom’s heart; open, grace-filled, healthy, loving, and accepting. We, like her, constantly seek to do whatever we can for those in need around us; whatever that need may be. So, as we begin to move toward opening up even more, and we will be opening up even more very shortly, let’s look at continuing what began years ago in this place, grew in the pandemic, and is the heart of what we’re called to be… TrinityUnited Methodist Church.
It’s so good to be back, and I remind you that this is the first time I’ve been able to look in the eyes of this congregation as I preach. And very soon, the doors will open wider…I promise.