Faith of a mustard seed

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

Barbara A. Woods Washington, M. Div.

In Celebration of ‘Mother’s Day’ I went searching for ‘the definition’ of “Mother”. One will be amazed that even Mariam-Webster has a problem. Nowhere was I able to see the most definitive understanding of “who Mother is”. So I submit, in this “Celebration of Mothers” what I believe to be the most concise statement, the only clear definition of ‘Mother’: the FEMALE whose womb ‘gives birth’ to ‘new life’. Looking, first at where the ambiguity lies.

I risk the fate of the “Mohammed Cartoonists” in the fervent defense that Islam gives to one who would make a mockery of their Faith. But, I dare enter this discussion mindful of the eternal debate that has surrounded this “Prayer of Christianity”, a Prayer so ‘Central’ that it has become deeply rooted to the “Confessions” of even the most “deadly” of sin. “Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.”

The ‘Mother of God’ – Virgin in Birth; the most Holiest, Purest; yet humanly impossible state of Motherhood.

The Church would have the Christian call ‘Every Man’ who stands before us as religious leader FATHER, none of whom (within the Church’s Order) ARE THE DNA seed contributors to “new Life”. On the other hand, by definition, NO MOTHERS either. Let me out of here. I’m only saying that when you look at: the history of Mother’s Day; Look at how difficult the definitions are of Mother in the most widely used dictionaries. Look even at how difficult a time the Church has with it. Look at… MOTHER!

The histories of Mother’s Day would take us into the Greco-Roman world to the celebration of “Mother Goddesses”. To world Church festivities of “Mothering Sundays” days much akin to our “Homecoming Sundays” when all the Sons and Daughters return to their ‘Home Church’. To the Civil War days of “Mother Work Days” with Fathers off to War, Mothers Tasks expanded in the home. To Post Civil War “Mothers Friendship Clubs” were Mothers sought to reconcile and find healing from the fighting. And finally establishing credit to Anna Jarvis in 1908 with “Mother’s Day” as we now know it; although it is said that she worked the remainder of her life to have the Holiday removed from the Calendar because of the Commercialism factor that attached itself so quickly.

I received my creative gifts from my Mama, Ruby Eugene Smith Woods Hollingsworth who epitomizes the strongest, yet most fragile woman emerging from the “Up From Slavery” culture of America’s History. With humble origins and meager resources she weathered the storms of her birthwrongs to provide for an extended family. Surviving a ‘Triple-bypass surgery’ and again ten years later a ‘Quadruple bypass surgery’, then living out her life as a double leg amputee. I recognized in her the true meaning of ‘a heavy heart’ as she ‘kept it all’… inside. I only saw her tears twice and both times were on her bed of affliction. Even now, 13 years after her passing, I feel her pain and the words still won’t come to transmit just ‘who’ my Mama is.

“And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting about him; and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.” 33 And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

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